by Rachel Varga
Let’s face it. As a society, we are moving less than ever before. We are working from home, dealing with gym and sports facility closures, and just navigating through many other personal and environmental factors that can limit time, energy and motivation. As a result, we are seeing more complaints of pain, stiffness and injury related to inactivity than ever before.
When treating these patients, a key feature that should never be left out is movement. As a Physiotherapist, I also believe it is important for patients to understand what movement actually does to our bodies and why it is so beneficial in a multifactorial rehabilitation approach.
The Science Behind Movement
Did you know there is a science of movement and how it can physically change how our tissues feel?An extremely fascinating concept and probably my all-time favourite technical term to break down for patients is the word thixotrophy.
Thixotropy is the idea that a substance will get stiff when immobile, but fluid when shaken or stirred.
Knowing that our body tissues respond to how we use them, if we took this scientific idea and applied it to our muscles, joints and ligaments, we might be able to expect something like this:
Increased body movement → Increased tissue mobility → Decreased pain, stiffness and injury.
Benefits of Movement
Aside from decreased pain, stiffness and injury, regular movement has many additional health benefits. Without realizing it and if left unaddressed, some may further contribute to the complaint you are seeing your physical therapist for. These include:
- Maintain muscle strength
- Train balance control
- Improve mood
- Improve quality of sleep
- Increase energy levels
- Improve cardiovascular and respiratory health
A home exercise program should be developed for any specific area of complaint. However, there are general movement strategies that can be adopted to break up inactivity throughout the day. I would recommend everyone take a few minutes to change up their posture after every 30-45 minutes of being stationary by using some of these simple ideas:
- Take a walk around the room during virtual meetings or calls
- Keep your cell phone or water bottle across the room so you have to get up to use it
- Complete a quick household chore (take out the garbage, fold a few pieces of laundry, put away some dishes)
- If actively working with a physiotherapist, use the opportunity to get a set of rehabilitative exercises in!
Our Registered Physiotherapist, Rachel Varga, strongly embodies movement in her practice and is a strong believer in empowering her patients to become active participants in their recovery. If you are someone who is experiencing pain or injury and is unsure how to get started on an exercise plan, contact Synergy Sports Medicine on the Danforth to book an appointment with Rachel!
You can contact Rachel with any questions at [email protected]
Physiotherapist - B.A. Hons (Kin), MSc.PT
Rachel Varga is a physiotherapist practicing at Synergy Sports Medicine, East End (2017 Danforth Avenue)
If you’re having issues with your hip, be sure to book with Rachel to get you back on track.