Have you ever started physio for an injury and then been disappointed with the results? Maybe the injury took longer than expected to heal, you struggled to reach your goal, or your injury came back to haunt you?
Today I’m going to explain the three biggest mistakes that stop a patient from achieving their treatment goal.
When people come to physio, they come because they have pain, or they’ve realised they can’t do something they used to be able to do. It might be an injury, or arthritis, or after surgery. It might be they can’t twist during their golf swing, reach to tie a shoe, or balance on one foot. They have a problem, and they are after a solution.
The issue is that often the patient’s goal – for example to get out of pain – is not the entire goal. See, the pain is a symptom of a problem. But it is the underlying problem that is causing the pain. If your therapist treats your pain, but doesn’t resolve the underlying issue, then your pain will return.
So – the Number 1 mistake: Stopping treatment because your pain has resolved.
Let me give you an example. Tennis Elbow – a common problem where the tendon becomes inflamed and angry due to overloading of the tendon. Initial treatments are aimed at decreasing pain, modifying load, and maintaining or regaining function. After 3-4 weeks of treatment normally the pain settles, function is getting better – but the tendon is still weak. It takes 2-4 months of gradually reloading the tendon with strengthening exercises to get the tendon strong enough so that it can cope with the normal activity load. If you stop your rehabilitation early, the tendon will flare up again, and you’ll be back at square 1.
If you’ve just gone – ah ha – that’s me. We can help you. Comment below with “mistake” and we’ll be able to work out where you are at in your rehab (or if you need to get started!) and get you back on track.
The second mistake we encounter is a failure of communication between the patient and therapist.
This can cover lots of topics, but let me cover the main ones that effect treatment outcomes. Medications and other health conditions. We need to know these things as they can effect your healing times and how you manage your pain. A good example of this is diabetes, which will slow your healing time and we may need to adjust your plan to accommodate this. Another example is not being open about any reasons you may not be able to stick to your plan – if there are financial, work or personal difficulties – we can work with you to modify your plan so that you get the best outcome possible given your circumstances.
Is this something you’ve done previously? We are more than happy to revisit your plan and help you reach your goal, even if it takes a little longer. Comment “mistake” and we’ll see where we can help you.
The third mistake is the most important in achieving your health goal – NOT DOING YOUR EXERCISES.
The exercise part of your rehabilitation is THE thing that will ultimately correct your problem so that you can confidently return to sport, work and leisure activities.
If you’re not doing the exercises, then there’s no chance that you can correct the problem.
If you are doing your exercises (firstly good on you!) the exercises need to be progressed and at a level that is challenging your muscles so that they can get stronger. If your exercises aren’t hard enough, you won’t get stronger, and you won’t reach you goal. So getting your exercises reviewed fortnightly during this strengthening stage of your rehab is crucial.
Right – so now you know the 3 biggest secrets to successful rehabilitation –
- Fix the problem, not just the pain
- Keep open and honest communication with your physio – we really do want to help you.
- DO YOUR EXERCISES
So – if you haven’t reached your goal, and you need some help – whether you have a painful problem or something limiting your movement – give us a call and we will be able to help you.