When pain and/or dysfunction are present, the body can respond by compensating in various ways. If this happens over a long period it can become habitual movement. In order to change this, you need to address it with corrective exercises or rehabilitation.
An understanding of habits is important in the rehabilitation process, as we are addressing habitual movement. Firstly, it takes on average 66 days (2 months) to form a new habit or to change an old habit into a new one. Secondly, habits form due to neurons / brain cells developing. This process is called neuroplasticity, which is the ability of the brain to adapt to changes in an individual's environment by forming new neural connections over time.
A simple analogy to explain this process is a pianist playing an out of tune piano. The pianist can be compared to the mind in that a decision is made to play the piano or to perform a movement in our case. The piano can be compared to the brain in that unless it is tuned, or in our case trained, the tune or movement will not sound or perform as desired. Basically your mind decides to move the body, but the brain isn't wired to support that movement, thus you can have pain or dysfunction i.e lack of balance or control.
Consistency becomes an important factor in the tuning or training process. Another simple analogy can be used to explain this. Imagine you are standing at the top of a field with long grass
and need to reach the gate at the bottom of the field. Initially your course through the field might be meandering. However, the more you walk through the field the more familiar you are with it and the easier it becomes until you have trodden a path in to the field. Once a path is trodden it becomes much more efficient and direct. This can be compared to the forming of neurons / brain cells and eventually the development of habits, i.e the path.
Therefore in order for habits (neural pathways) to form, high repetitions coupled with high frequency is needed. This is the framework that is used for the rehabilitation programs that we implement here in our clinic. We place a lot of importance in the first three weeks of your rehabilitation process. Here are the main reasons why:
Increase in blood supply to the muscles & cellular changes.
This means that the body becomes more efficient at moving. You will see increases in strength and fitness and overall sense of wellbeing.
Increase in waste removal.
This means that you improve the environment in which you became injured, making healing quicker and more effective. Like the saying goes "You cannot heal in the environment that made you sick."
Good kickstart for forming new habits.
Fitting your rehab program into your daily routine consistently for the first three weeks, makes it easier for you to carry that on with you into the coming weeks and months.
We make it easier for you in the first three weeks by providing rehabilitation sessions, either online or in clinic, between treatments. This means that you can:
1. Be more specific with your exercises.
2. Be confident that you are performing the exercises correctly.
3. Communicate any difficulties that you are having.
4. Be more efficient with your time.