When I am treating a client, I discuss the process of their road to recovery. I think the most important thing for them to understand is that most times, success cannot be achieved without contribution also from the client.
I feel we have been raised to believe that if we experience pain, the solutions have been medication or surgery or similar so we do them and we are better and go on our way. Generally pain is a message from our body that we need to make personal changes to avoid further injury. As someone that has low back pain, it become apparent to me that I need to make some changes and that treatments from various modalities are simply not enough. The pain taught me that my biomechanics need to be better when I am treating, I need to strengthen my core much more (because as a cyclist, my limbs have become stronger than my core and that is like the branches of a tree being stronger than the trunk). So this is something that I pass onto my clients. They cannot expect to simply come in, get treatment, have the pain go away and they can continue what they are doing. They need to watch what they do and make sure the body is strong enough to do it. Full understanding of what is causing the issue and why it is that they are doing the exercises is key as well.
Keep moving!!! Very often, at work, clients find themselves in one position for hours on hours and often that may be ok for one day or so, but if the person does that 5 days a week, the issue can compound.
Adapt your environment to you…don’t adapt yourself to your environment (if you can). The most common example of this is working with the computer. Very often the keyboard and the monitor maybe positioned poorly so that you are leaning forward and turning your shoulders in, which can cause issues over longer periods with neck and shoulder stabilizers fatiguing. I will do an entry soon that discusses good strategies for the computer screen and keyboard positioning.
The main purpose though with this entry is to stress the importance of being aware that you are ultimately the source of your own well being and we, as therapists, help to reduce pain, make you aware of the source of the pain, give you home care activities to remain strong and mobile and to assess periodically to make sure that the body isn’t falling back into the position that caused the initial issue.