Your Guide to Injury Rehabilitation
Table of contents
Sam Crane - Qualified in Injury Rehabilitation
When you suffer a sports injury or are experiencing joint pain, a physio or chiropractor can assess the extent of your injury and devise a plan of action for rehabilitation. As a physio cannot be with you to implement every stage of the plan, handing over some of the responsibility to a personal trainer is the best way of obtaining emotional support and keeping your recovery on track.
I am a personal trainer who is qualified to deliver rehabilitation activities and work with other healthcare professionals to ensure appropriate exercises are administrated safely during this crucial period of recovery. Just because you are injured does not mean exercise cannot be rewarding and fulfilling. Contact me to discuss your situation and find out how my one-to-one training can make your recovery period less stressful and more rewarding, while also reducing the chances of future injuries.
1. What is Sports Rehabilitation?
If you have been suffering from any type of musculoskeletal issue recently, there is a strong chance that you could benefit from sports rehabilitation. Sports rehabilitation is a carefully managed process that helps individuals recover from sports injuries or injuries sustained through age or everyday life. Each stage of rehabilitation includes exercises that are carefully implemented to not risk further injuries.
An initial consultation will be held with a doctor, chiropractor or a physio. These people will be able to identify the cause of your pain if not already known and go on to develop a plan that will help you safely regain the status-quo of pain-free mobility – or as close to this ideal as possible. Some exercises may be carried out at the physio’s office but in the majority of circumstances, clients will be given take-home exercises to complete. Alongside physical exercises, some clients may receive massage therapy, electrotherapy and be given aids such as braces.
Modern sports rehabilitation has been built on an array of scientific research papers that have covered biometric and psychological benefits. The practice is widely understood as the best course of action to help individuals regain the standard of living or sports performance before the accident or injury occurred.
2. Does Injury Rehabilitation Hurt?
After experiencing a painful injury, the last thing that you will want to do is undergo a programme that is going to intensify or prolong that pain. You will be pleased to hear that injury rehabilitation is not designed to do either of these things. Sports rehabilitation includes medically-approved practices that benefit the body in a safe and controlled way. Sometimes they may be slightly uncomfortable, but they are never designed to cause pain. These practices are only used when it is safe to do so and can be tailored to the client’s type of injury, pain threshold and levels of discomfort.
When injury rehabilitation techniques are instructed by medical professionals and physios, you can be assured that you are in safe hands. When transferring their programme to personal trainers, you need to be sure that your personal trainer is qualified in areas of sports medicine and has experience in helping injured clients overcome their injuries. I have both. I have worked with physios to ensure that my clients have overcome the likes of ACL tears, sprains and a plethora of other injuries in the quickest and safest time possible.
3. Do I Need to See a Physio or a Personal Trainer?
Doctors and physios are exceptionally talented at diagnosing sports and exercise injuries. After suffering an injury or noticing an issue, these professionals should be your first point of call. However, the best gyms have on-site physios who work in close contact with personal trainers. Together, they can devise and implement a bespoke exercise plan that will work to mending your issue. Those with sports injuries are capable of recovering quicker and at a safe pace when using a holistic approach afforded by the skills of different professionals.
A personal trainer is not just one cog in the rehabilitation machine because they understand what exercises can improve your condition safely. They also offer emotional and psychological benefits. Sustaining a sports injury or an issue from another means can be extremely difficult to deal with. A lack of mobility hampers many day-to-day activities inside and outside the world of sport, which may lead to stress, depression and anxiety. A qualified personal trainer is there for you in these moments. They provide another layer of support to help you cope with emotional obstacles and will motivate you to stay on track and overcome your sports injury.
4. What Types of Problems Does Sports Rehabilitation Target?
This type of rehabilitation is used to improve musculoskeletal problems, i.e. problems concerning the muscular system such as torn muscle or problems concerning the skeleton such as a twisted knee. Here is a list of some of the common ailments that you can expect sports rehabilitation to be used for:
5. The Different Stages of Sports Rehabilitation
The first phase of any rehabilitation process is to address the immediate pain of the injury. This stage will be carried out by doctors, physios and other medical professionals. The phase may be completed in a short period or it could take much longer depending on the injury sustained.
Once the individual is no longer in significant pain and can start exercising, the primary goal will be to restore as much mobility as possible. This may include simple techniques such as stretching and massage therapy.
Once mobility has been enhanced and the individual can move more comfortably, it is time to focus on regaining muscular strength and endurance. This is the phase that most personal trainers are involved in. Progress may be monitored through functional assessments and isokinetic tests.
Once mobility is improved and the client has seen muscular improvements, the next phase will look into coordination. This phase could be short or long depending on the length of time the client has been injured for and the time that has been taken to get to this stage of the process.
For athletes, their rehabilitation process may end with the development of sport-specific skills. Others may choose to continue with a physical exercise plan to prevent further injuries and develop their general fitness.
6. What Exercises and Activities Can I Expect from Injury Rehabilitation?
Exercise during rehabilitation encompasses different types of activities compared with regular exercise. The moves and exercises are often much slower and less intense while remaining just as beneficial considering the circumstances. Some moves are completed on a mat using partial bodyweight exercises or different types of stretching. However, some exercises and pieces of equipment are more beneficial than others, namely, TRX apparatus, gravity machines and pilates. These activities can make sports rehabilitation fun and enjoyable despite your injury or joint pains.
TRX for Sports Medicine
It is also a go-to piece of gym equipment for personal trainers introducing clients who are new to gyms and exercise because it enables them to complete exercises using their own bodyweight rather than giving them weights and additional loads. For these reasons, the TRX system is also a beneficial gym apparatus for those in sports rehabilitation and injury recovery. This is also why personal trainers can become qualified in TRX for Sports Medicine. Here are some of the most common exercises performed with the TRX system:
However, it is not possible to recommend a list of exercises for those in recovery because of the difference in circumstances. What may be beneficial for one person’s rehabilitation journey may cause more pain or worsen an injury for another person. Speaking with a physio or chiropractor and liaising with a TRX-Sports-Medicine qualified personal trainer should be your goal.
Incline Pilates Reformer in Injury Rehabilitation
The gravity incline Pilates Reformer is another excellent choice among many people who have recently sustained an injury. This machine targets the lower body offering optimal support while exercising. It works with the same principles as the TRX system. As the name suggests, exercisers will contend with their own bodyweight and gravity – but they can increase the resistance if needed. Some individuals will start their rehabilitation programme using the TRX system and develop to gym equipment that remains supportive while also offering an opportunity for progression, like the incline Pilates Reformer.
Pilates in Sports Rehab
Pilates is one of the most popular forms of exercise in the fitness industry and that is due to its ability to target deeper-lying core muscles and provide an intense workout. Intensity may not be the first word that comes to mind when considering its uses in sports rehabilitation, but Pilates does offer those in rehabilitation a selection of benefits. Here are some of those benefits:
1. Improving Muscular Imbalances
It is not uncommon for people to have muscular imbalances. They may be caused over time through poor posture, the way we exercise or even how we sleep. These muscular imbalances may seem minor and in a lot of cases they can go unnoticed. Even in high-level sport, some athletes can develop muscles that are imbalanced.
In all situations, these muscular imbalances have a high chance of leading to poor balance which then may lead to injuries or joint pains. Pilates is one way of improving our muscular imbalance to prevent future injuries and prevent current ones from materialising.
2. Core Strength
Another reason why Pilates is so beneficial is because it develops core muscles and core strength. Considering your core is the centre of your body and helps to stabilise the spine, it also plays an underlying role in our posture, balance and the control we exhibit in the way we move. Thus, having a strong and stable core is key to aiding injury recovery but also to safeguard against potential injury reoccurrences and new injuries.
Not to forget that Pilates is one way of enhancing your flexibility and increasing a safe range of movement. Although pilates techniques may be adopted to primarily aid flexibility and recovery, staying flexible is a fantastic technique for injury prevention.
One last reason why Pilates is an excellent option within injury rehabilitation is due to its ease of personalisation. The activities involved are not as limited as the likes of running. A knowledgeable personal trainer can make pilates fit the needs of most individuals within their bespoke rehabilitation programme. At the same time, pilates can include some technical movements and when performed incorrectly may worsen an injury and delay recovery. This is why implementing pilates as part of sports rehabilitation should only be done with the approval of a physio and the expertise and supervision of a qualified personal trainer.
These three activities are exceptionally advantageous for those undergoing exercise rehabilitation. This does not mean individuals are limited to these options. Modern gyms are equipped with a wealth of pieces of equipment and when instructed by a knowledgeable fitness professional, using them safely and effectively becomes an option. The knowledge that a personal trainer can bring to the rehabilitation table can therefore also enable rehabilitation to be diversified with different exercises. The benefit of this is that the process becomes more engaging and enjoyable. Simultaneously preventing psychological issues from arising and maintaining motivation.
7. Mental Activities for Sports Rehabilitation
A personal trainer can help with this by offering their ear, motivation and support. However, there are also other activities that can benefit individuals experiencing these problems, such as:
8. Will My Sports Injury Heal on Its Own?
Some injuries will heal on their own, however, this is not the end of the story. Choosing to allow injuries to heal by resting is not against advice but most people who do not seek professional medical help rush their return to sports and everyday activities, which can further damage the injury and cause significantly more pain.
Instead, it is far wiser to consult a doctor or physio and then continue with injury rehabilitation. Rehabilitation allows your body to stay active while sidelined, which is better to overall health. Moreover, the rehabilitation process equips you with knowledge of your injury and offers measures to prevent the injury from returning as best as possible. Understanding the mechanisms of your body is an invaluable skill that can be worked on with the guidance of your personal trainer.
9. A Healthy Diet During Sports Rehabilitation
Entering into a sports rehabilitation programme may require changes to your diet. This is especially the case if the programme is the result of a sports injury and the individual involved is significantly reducing the number of times or the intensity they exercise per week. Naturally, as the injured person exercises less, they require less energy than usual and need to reduce the number of calories in their diet accordingly. If they do not, they could gain weight which could lead to a loss of motivation and the aforementioned psychological stresses.
The good news is that qualified personal trainers can combine the implementation of injury rehabilitation programmes and supply sound nutritional advice. A personal trainer who is helping with the rehabilitation process is in a prime position to provide this information because they already know your current and planned activity levels.