Mind Over Matter

February 11, 2014

By Alice Thompson

Have you ever asked anyone if they have had physiotherapy? I routinely ask this question in practice to determine how the patient previously responded to physio, what their experience is and discover what worked well (or not so well) for them. The most common answer I receive is, “yes, they gave me some exercises, but I have no idea what they were, I think I used a stretchy red band” or something very similar.

So, what does this mean? Well, patients normally come to see a physiotherapist when they are in pain. The likelihood is, their individualised exercise plan works at the time. It probably alleviates muscular aches and reduces the irritability of nasty sharp pains and they get better and back to normal. So after a while, they stop. In the majority of cases I advise that patients should continue with their exercises as with any injury there is always a risk of recurrent injuries in this area due to residual weakness. Once the motivation to reduce pain has disappeared, it is very easy to stop.

If there is no motivation for a person to do something they will not do it. Now, this is where I address the title of this blog; I was reading an article in the latest Runner’s World Magazine [1] which looked into the common mental barriers that impede training. In a nut shell, if you’re not quite feeling up to a run it gives you advice as to how to break that mind-set. The general consensus is that you must overcome any negativity and focus your mind on achieving your set goal.

Research has shown that it takes 21 days to form a habit [2] if this is true the addition of exercises into your daily routine can be formed within 3 weeks of physiotherapy. Again this can apply for most things in life. If you want to begin a new hobby, become more active, eat healthier it is all do-able with time and perseverance. This is reassuring right!? You can do ANYTHING you set your mind to. Fact.
So, to conclude, keep going with your physiotherapy after you have finished your sessions as you will certainly see the benefits and if there is a lifestyle change you want to make, bite the bullet and DO IT! Life’s too short.

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