Home Care Exercises – What’s The Point?

Dr Nick O’Connor (Osteopath)

The team at Beyond pride ourselves on taking each of our patients through a management plan to help them MOVE THROUGH LIFE. A key part of each management plan is home exercises, these exercises play a vital role in improving the injury/complaint that each patient has.

What are home care exercises?

Home exercises consist of either strengthening, mobility, postural correction, self-release or mindfulness exercises that are given specifically for your injury/complaint. These exercises are also aligned with the client/patient’s goals, physical and environmental limitations, activity levels and severity of injury. 

Why do we prescribe exercises to do at home?

One of the main ways I like to explain to my patients early on in their management plan regarding exercise prescription is that we need to maintain the improvements we have made on the treatment table or in the gym/studio between appointments. If we are maintaining these improvements, we are building the foundations to get further through our management plan, therefore progressing our way to improving the way we MOVE THROUGH LIFE!

The “Why?” question in detail is usually different for each patient, this depends on their goals and what they have presented with. Some patients may need to complete specific exercises to improve the positioning of joints/structures to help with muscles surrounding and attaching to the joint to be able to do their job effectively. Some patients need to complete strengthening exercises for specific muscles to allow enhanced recruitment, muscle firing and support of surrounding structures. Other patients may need to complete mobility exercises to increase their range of motion and flexibility to help with either day to day movements or movements that are specific to their exercise, sport or work. One of the goals with exercise prescription is to also eliminate habitual actions that make a negative impact on an injury/condition and replace them with exercises that are beneficial for the particular case.

There is also an educational aspect to exercise prescription for the patient. Completing exercises at home, without the supervision of a practitioner, allows for increased body awareness and basic anatomy knowledge. This helps patients understand what movements or actions do and do not benefit their injury or complaint, it helps them adapt the exercises to their everyday life. E.g. picking up the grocery bags like you are performing a deadlift in the gym.

What sort of exercises do they consist of?

These exercises can include the following:

  • Body weight movements (stretching movements e.g. quad stretch, strengthening movements e.g. bridges)
  • Theraband exercises (using a theraband for resistance in strengthening exercises)
  • Self release techniques (using a foam roller, spikey ball, lacrosse ball, broomstick etc. to release tension in muscles)
  • Postural correction (setting up a better workspace at the desk, stretching every 20min at the desk, self release at the desk etc.)
  • Mindfulness (Recommendation of meditation, mindfulness apps to use)

What are the benefits?

  • Education! Through specific exercises for each client, they are able to learn and understand further as to how their body works.
  • Accomplishing goals! Completing the home care exercises that the practitioner gives you allows us to progress through the management plan, reduce pain and improve movement.
  • Back to exercise! For some, their injury/complaint may stop them exercising or playing sports, completing the home care exercises can help fast track the return and ensure you are ready to exercise or perform!
  • Increase results in your treatments/sessions in the clinic! Having the ability to fast track exercises and advance quicker through the management plan.
  • Positive habits! Completing home care exercises can encourage individuals to take more time in taking care of themselves and their bodies, not just while they have an issue, but when they are fit and healthy.

Looking for some tips on Home workouts and exercises? Check out our “Home Workouts” blog for some great tips, or join our Movement HUB for free access to various workouts, Pilates and self-release videos!

If you want to read more about the benefits of and why you need to exercise click here .

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