Why Your Rehab Isn’t Working
Rehab often comes at a time of increased stress, pain, and frustration, coupled with a host of exercises that don’t exactly excite you.
Often adherence to a program is one of the greatest limiting factors to recovery.
But, lack of adherence to rehab doesn’t just come down to the client.
At the end of the day, no one wants to stay injured.
So, if lack of commitment to a program does not come down to lack of motivation to improve, then why is performing rehab so hard!?
I have a couple of theories surrounding this subject;
- It’s not just about the rehab; you’ve had a massive day at work, you’ve come home to a pile of washing, dinner to cook, and you still haven’t prepped for tomorrow. You already have a list of things that you really DON’T want to do. Rehab is often the last thing on your mind (especially if you aren’t in high levels of pain), and if it is, it is pushed to the bottom of that rapidly increasing list.
- You don’t enjoy the exercises; if you must choose between sitting down to your favourite TV show, versus setting up for your rehab, most people will be drawn to the one that gives them instant gratification. If this is you, don’t worry, you’re not alone!
- You don’t understand what the point of the rehab is; if you’re confused by the exercises, don’t understand how to do them properly, or don’t understand what is actually going on, it is even harder to find the motivation to do them.
So how do we combat this to help resolve your injury?
For the Clinician
- Explain; it is the job of the clinician to explain the diagnosis and exercise in a way that the client understands. Explain WHY the client needs to do the exercises and WHY it is important to do them frequently. If you (as the client) don’t understand what is going on, ASK! This is about you getting better, no question is a bad question!
- Summarise; Summarise the consult in a few key sentences. No one should be expected to remember everything that was spoken about. I often like to send an email summarising the consult and/or plan, to ensure the client can reflect on what was discussed.
- Refresh; I often like to send video demonstrations of the exercise to the client so that they can revisit the technique required. MAKE THINGS EASY!
- Find a way to make the goals and rehab enjoyable/ achievable; There’s no point creating the perfect program if it is unachievable for the client. Find a way to add it into their day or training sessions. If a client dislikes an exercise, when possible, try and find something that works in a similar way that they will actually complete.
For the Client
- It’s NOT about motivation; If you are waiting for motivation to complete your exercises, STOP! Motivation will be few and far between, especially in the early stages. This is about consistency and discipline.
- Try habit stacking or setting reminders; If you are someone that forgets, add your rehab to an already established habit. I.e., “when I make my bed, I will do my mobility program”. If this isn’t for you, set a reminder on your phone at the same time every day (if possible) to complete your exercises. Again, MAKE THINGS EASY!
- Your Physio can only get you so far; Whilst we can set you up, at the end of the day, you are the one that needs to complete the program. Sometimes reminding yourself of why you are doing it (i.e., “I have the triathlon I want to complete”) can kick-start you into gear. If you are struggling, talk to your clinician so that you can both brainstorm ways to help!
Unfortunately, being sick or injured is never fun. If you’re struggling to complete your program, try and find barriers that are preventing you from moving forward. Finding solutions to these barriers can start to set things in motion so that you can begin to see the results you need for recovery!