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In my other articles, I’ve provided tangible strategies for managing your mobility and comfort.  In this article, I’d like to take a slightly different approach and present an analogy that I use regularly when talking to my physiotherapy clients.  I consider my physiotherapy clients’ ability to “buy in” to this theory integral to their success in feeling back to normal and continuing to live the life they love.

The analogy:  

Your body has a bank account of strength.  There is a threshold amount of strength that is required to optimize your body’s function.  If your strength drops below this threshold, you often experience symptoms of pain and dysfunction.  It is often at this point that you might consider seeking medical attention and start physiotherapy so that you can feel back to normal.

The challenge in physiotherapy:  

Through physiotherapy, you are often working to rebuild strength in the affected areas so that you feel back to normal.  As soon as you meet this “threshold of strength”, you feel better; the pain and dysfunction lessen or disappear.  This is the point at which many clients self-discharge from physiotherapy because they feel back to normal and are satisfied that they have addressed and resolved their issues.

The reality of physiotherapy: 

If you have not “built up” your strength account significantly beyond that threshold level, you remain at high risk for a recurrence of your issues even though you feel back to normal.   If the demands of your life or activities increase, the threshold requirement for strength can change and you may feel symptoms return.   Similarly, if you reduce your level of activity due to injury or illness, your strength may quickly drop below the threshold level. This can leave you vulnerable to a resurgence of past problems making it difficult to feel back to normal.

Most of us are quite accustomed to managing our financial bank accounts.  With finances, we sometimes refer to keeping some savings in a “rainy day account” to have us prepared for unexpected expenditures or hardships.  We need to approach physiotherapy and our strength the same way so that we continue to feel back to normal.  The demands placed on our body can change for a variety of reasons (both good and bad); it is important to ensure we have prepared ourselves to meet those changing demands.  We need to build up our bank accounts of strength to continue feeling well; this allows us to be back to normal levels of activity and recreation.

To make a significant improvement in muscle strength takes a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks.  This means that rehabilitation programs generally need to be carried out for at least this length of time if improving strength has been identified as the goal of physiotherapy.  In many cases, the optimal duration for exercise is much longer; it is all dependent on the circumstances surrounding your injury or condition and needs to be guided by physiotherapy.

Most of us are quite accustomed to managing our financial bank accounts.  I hope over time more of us will start to look at our physical strength in a similar way and remember to “stick to the program” even after our symptoms have resolved so that we continue feeling back to normal.  This approach to physiotherapy can really pay dividends in the weeks and months to follow as it enables you to live the life you love without unnecessary pain and dysfunction. 

If you know you didn’t ever get back to normal after an injury, book with a member of the Zoomers physiotherapy team for an assessment to get yourself on the right track to better health and comfort.

Book an assessment with Zoomers

Use our online booking tool to find a time that works for you!