Because of the number athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and regular exercisers we work with at IFAST, one of the most common questions I get when working with new patients or clients in physical therapy is “Can I keep exercising while I go through physical therapy?”
The answer is yes, maybe, and no.
Yes, you can continue to exercise
Exercise of the correct type and dosage (exercise is like medicine… you need the right amount) will actually make your rehab easier and more effective in many cases.
Your brain and nervous system contribute a lot to your physical therapy outcome as many times you are learning or relearning new activities or how to move more effectively to stay healthy. Regular exercise increases your brain’s ability to make new neurons (nerves in the brain), makes new connections between neurons (increased learning), and keeps current neurons healthy and functioning well.
All of this can accelerate your recovery and reduce rehab time.
As I’m fond of saying that I don’t take anything away from you until we have to which leads us to the next answer.
Maybe you can continue to exercise
We can’t be random with exercise prescription as many variations have specific demands on the body that may interfere with the rehab process. Some clients and athletes have medical restrictions that preclude certain activities. This may require that we modify your exercise or training program to some degree to prevent too much stress on an affected area of the body that would otherwise prolong your recovery.
For instance, if you’re a Crossfit athlete with a shoulder injury, you may find that certain variations of the Olympic lifts, such as the jerk and or snatch, are painful to the shoulder. That may not mean that you need to totally discontinue working the Olympic lifts entirely. It may simply require that you emphasize different variations or work the pulls temporarily while your physical therapy addresses the shoulder problem.
If you’re a runner with hip pain, you may find that a temporary reduction in total mileage, changing from road to trail running, or even a change in running pace provides an avenue to continue training through a running-related injury.
If you’re a yoga enthusiast with back pain, you may need to modify your technique or avoid selected poses temporarily to avoid pain or stress.
Our IFAST clients certainly understand the value of how we seamlessly integrate physical therapy and our fitness programs. All of our coaches are trained to understand the components of the rehab process that allows a smooth transition between the rehab room and the gym. A simple tweak to the current fitness program is all it may take to keep our clients progressing toward their fitness goals.
Having IFAST as one of the top-rated sport and fitness training facilities in the country makes it easy to show you any number of exercise modifications on the spot to keep you exercising in a pain-free manner.
No, you can’t exercise
Rarely is this the answer.
Considering the benefits of exercise, we can almost always find a way to continue exercising while you complete your physical therapy.
On rare occasions, however, the severity of pain or the type of injury temporarily prevents the continuation of your current exercise program. There are situations where it may be impossible to find positions, postures, and activities that don’t exacerbate pain or put a load on affected areas of the body.
Thankfully, the IFAST Physical Therapy approach has a reputation for shorter courses of physical therapy with significant improvement within the first session. Oftentimes, what initially appears to be a “no you can’t exercise” quickly becomes a maybe you can exercise or a yes you can continue to exercise or train for your event.
Pain isn’t much fun, and it can certainly interfere with your active lifestyle or competitive activities. Even if you’ve been told that you shouldn’t or can’t exercise, there are many cases where there is a better, more effective solution. In fact, exercise may be an essential part of the fix.
If you know someone who’s struggling with a chronic ache, pain, or injury and they’re not sure how to proceed, please have them call IFAST Physical Therapy to set up a free injury consultation. Let’s turn your no you can’t exercise into a yes you can!
Call to set up your free injury consultation at IFAST Physical Therapy in Indianapolis. Keep exercising!
Call 317-578-0998 or email [email protected]