Getting actively involved with rehabbing your injury can have a huge impact on the how fast you recover and how well you heal following injury. Principal physio, Shaun explains the difference between active and passive rehab and why it makes a big difference to your outcome.
Active rehab has been shown to be significantly more effective than passive rehab and there is good reason for this. Firstly, the difference between active and passive is important to clarify and this image demonstrates it well. Active rehab is where you are given stretches and corrective exercises to do at home, where you are taught better technique and are more involved with treatment techniques such as myofascial releases. Whereas passive rehab is just that, where you rely on the therapist for hot/cold therapy, ultrasound, acupuncture, manipulation etc.
Now active rehab is very important, firstly because as I have explained in an earlier post about mechanotransduction, our body responds to the forces that we put through it. The corrective exercises and improvement in technique etc change the forces going through the injured area, leading it to adapt and change – for the better. With passive rehab, you are missing out on this important aspect of treatment.
Secondly, in the majority of cases, you can’t go in and see your physio every day BUT if you are doing rehab exercises and self-treatment techniques at home – you will improve much better than purely relying on your treating health professional to get you better – this way you can take charge and play a large part in your recovery.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying passive rehab isn’t needed – it very much is, especially in the early stages of an injury where hot/cold therapies, acupuncture etc can really help and mobilisation and manipulation can do wonders for joint mobility and muscle relaxation. But a balance is needed and if you aren’t progressed onto active rehab or if you don’t get involved with what your physio asks you to do at home, you are really missing out!
So what is the takeaway message?
Get involved with your physio treatment. Do what your physio asks you to do at home, and if you aren’t sure if you are doing it right, check with them.