When it comes to the science of physiotherapy, you may be wondering, how does it actually work? How do the stretches, exercises, and other movements in physiotherapy help to reduce recovery time, soothe pain, and improve range of motion? And how do they help to protect your body for the future, making you resilient to injury as time marches on?
In this article, I’ll be going over everything you need to know about the hard, scientific reasons physiotherapy is so good for you. I’ll also be explaining the ways physiotherapy can help protect and maintain your body, even into old age.
1. Core Activation
When you want to find the most vital parts of any machine, the core is probably where you’d first look. And when it comes to the mechanism of the human body, this is no different! Though ab muscles might be what comes to mind when you think ‘core’, this region is actually made up of a few interdependent muscles, such as your diaphragm, pelvic floor, transversus abdominis, and multifidus.
When your core is activated, it means the muscles are awake and engaged without straining. If someone were to come up and push you, an activated core would make sure that you don’t fall over. Core activation is essential for stabilizing the spine and the pelvis, which helps with posture, relieving back pain, and even reducing the odds of an injury later on.
No matter what brings you into physiotherapy, core activation is practically guaranteed to be a part of the process. As the natural center of our movements, it’s important that we work in sessions to get the core activated and working to support the rest of the body.
2. Balancing Over and Underworked Muscle Activations
Muscle imbalances are a common symptom of many kinds of physical concerns in people I work with. Muscle imbalance refers to when the muscles surrounding a joint are not being used in balance, leading to one becoming tightened and shortened, compared to the other muscle becoming chronically lengthened and weakened. Over time, this alters your posture, and can cause some pain, all of which keep the imbalance going.
So what’s the answer to a muscle imbalance? Physiotherapy, of course! Muscle imbalances can be caused by less-than-ideal posture, repetitive motions, or as a result of certain injuries or physical stresses. Through physiotherapy, you’ll work to rebalance these muscles and help them to work in harmony once again, reducing your symptoms and improving your motion at the same time. Plus, you’ll be far less prone to reinjuring the area with some dedication to your physiotherapy routine.
3. Multi-Planar Motions for a Functional Life
At one point, the human body was understood as neatly organized muscle groups which practically worked independently from one another. However, there’s a newer approach that many are turning to: functional movements involving multi-planar motions.
In your day-to-day life, how often are you mimicking the motions you might find in a gym? You probably aren’t finding yourself bicep curling or deadlifting too often outside of your workouts. Instead, you likely use a number of muscle groups for your average task. Lifting a heavy box off the floor? That should be engaging your legs, back, arms, and core—not just one or two of them.
That’s where multi-planar motions come in. Rather than an exercise that happens on a single plane of motion—such as a bicep curl, which simply goes up and down—multi-planar movements incorporate controlled motions of more than one of the 3 planes, to make the exercise more functional for everyday life. At ProActive Pilates, multi-planar motions are an essential part of almost every treatment plan I help create. We need to be strong in various angles with everything you do, to be able to be resilient to issues. These exercises help you to build the strength in your core and elsewhere that you’ll need to do things in life, all while reducing your risk of injury along the way.
4. Getting ‘Farm Fit’
My granny grew up on a farm in Emo, Ontario, a 5 hr. drive from Thunder Bay. Despite the beautiful surroundings, this was a lot of work for her and the family on a daily basis. Life on the farm was full of challenging physical tasks and, you guessed it, multi-planar motions.
Because of my granny’s hard work throughout her life, she was something I like to call ‘farm fit’. To me, this simply means functional strength that helps keep your body safe as you do what needs to be done. This isn’t fitness like you’d see on a bodybuilder or a competing athlete—you might not even ‘see’ the strength like you would with these other disciplines. But you sure can feel it!
I believe this level of functional fitness is what helped my granny live to be 110 years old. And the good news? You don’t need to work on a farm to do it!
At ProActive Pilates, I put a lot of focus on strengthening exercises that will actually serve you in your regular, day-to-day life. Not only will this help you get stuff done and get stronger along the way, but it will even help you be unbreakable by reducing the risk of injuries to secondary muscle groups. It might even help you crack triple digits in age!
Ready to Get Started?
As you can see, the benefits of physiotherapy are pretty clear. With enough time and dedication, along with the oversight of an experienced physiotherapist, you can start making changes that help you feel your best, move how you should, and live life without the fear of an injury setting you back.
If you have more questions about physiotherapy, functional ‘farm fitness’, or the scientific facts behind it all, I’m here to help. Get in touch today with your questions, or if you’re ready to see these benefits for yourself and start getting ‘farm fit’, book your initial physiotherapy consultation!