Prehab Not Rehab

PREHAB NOT REHAB


Can you believe it is already November?! As the winter sporting season approaches I thought it might be interesting to talk a little about the concept of 'prehabilitiation'.

Over the past few years there has been a major shift in the way we manage patients before an operation; 'prehabilitating' or conditioning the musculoskeletal system before an operation has been found to improve the outcome of surgery and reduce the recovery time significantly. Prehabilitation is not only useful pre-operation, but can be used to reduce the likelihood of sporting injuries.

Many patients find their symptoms come on following a surge in activity, or playing a lot of sport after a period of rest. This is because our bodies need to be 'warmed up' and prepared for any change in demands.

Sporting activities such as skiing carry the risk of injury - you can minimise the risk of ligament and muscle sprains, strains and tears by slowly increasing your activity before you go away, and properly warming up and stretching before and after skiing once you are there. 

Prepare your muscles beforehand by:

1- Osteopathic treatment to promote healthy muscle tissue and good joint function.

2- Activity-specific prehab. For example skiing involves a great deal of torsion through the knees - prepare the muscles in the lower extremity by doing squats and lunges in different planes to ensure the muscles work effectively to protect the ligaments and joints.

3- Stretch every day before you go away for supple muscles and to prevent injury.

4 - Proprioception exercises such as balancing on one leg can help to prevent ankle sprains - stand on a pillow or two to make it more of a challenge. Looking in the mirror whilst exercising to improve the brain-body proprioception pathways.

5 - Range of motion exercises to warm up the joints. Draw anticlockwise and clockwise circles with both ankles, swing your knees gently off a chair, draw circles with your knees to improve the range of motion in the hips etc. Swimming is also a great way to encourage joint movement off-weight bearing. 

6 - Drink lots of water to hydrate the intervertebral discs and reduce the risk of injury in the spine.

It is important to gradually increase your activity to prevent injury.