Would you like to reduce your risk of injury? Or recover more quickly after surgery? Then prehabilitation could be just what you need.
It’s part of a preventive approach to health that recognises that it’s better to stay healthy than to treat and recover from illness or injury. We know that modifying your lifestyle by eating well, staying fit, cutting out cigarettes and reducing alcohol intake can lower your risk of many common health problems. Prehabilitation is similar; strengthening your body in specific ways can help to reduce your risk of common injuries.
What Is Prehabilitation?
The aim of prehabilitation is to improve your body’s ability to withstand stressors, for example, upcoming surgery or a certain type of physical activity. ‘Prehab’ takes many forms, including exercise, nutrition, medical approaches or psychological therapy.
Here at Southport Central Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic, we focus on the physical therapy aspect of prehabilitation. We help athletes who seek to avoid sports injury, patients who hope to reduce the risk of common injuries, and others who want to get into better condition before surgery.
Prehabilitation to Prevent Injury
As physiotherapists, we understand how your body should work and can see where it’s not working quite as well as it should. We can see those parts that are too tight, too loose or misaligned in some way that might make you more prone to certain types of injuries. As sports physiotherapists, we also understand the particular strains that specific sports put on your body.
Swimmer’s shoulder, runner’s knee, golfer’s elbow…some sports are strongly linked to certain types of injury. That’s before we add in ankle sprains or ACL tears that cause significant setbacks for otherwise fit and healthy people.Prehabilitation takes a proactive approach by bolstering those parts of your body that are most at risk of injury. It can be highly effective. Female soccer players are at high risk of an ACL injury. One study found that participating in a prehab program that targeted their flexibility, strength and agility reduced ACL injuries by 88%.
What Happens at a Prehab Appointment?
Here at Southport Central, we begin by assessing your biomechanics, posture, joint alignment, stability, muscle control and other factors then we start talking about your lifestyle, activity levels and which sports and positions you play (if any). That’s because prehabilitation techniques vary depending on the likely stress your body will experience.
Based on the findings of that risk assessment, we’ll develop a prehab program for you that will help to correct any imbalances and improve your strength and endurance, helping to reduce the risk of injury.
You don’t have to be sporty to benefit from prehab. Such targeted training can help kids with joint hypermobility syndrome or injury-prone adults who’d prefer to invest their time and money in prevention rather than cure.
Prehabilitation Before Surgery or Treatment
Prehabilitation has been used for some time to help patients get in shape for surgery or gruelling treatment.
The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne offers its patients a thorough prehabilitation program before their cancer treatment starts, recognising that treatment is more successful when patients are as fit and strong as possible before their therapy starts.
Prehabilitation is also used before cardiac surgery, often using the same techniques traditionally used in post-surgery rehabilitation programs. Prehab interventions before cardiac surgery aim to help people improve their nutrition, fitness and mental health before the op, which may help them make a better recovery.
Would I Benefit From Prehab?
We can’t fully answer that question without examining you but prehab is likely to be helpful if you:
- Play a contact sport
- Enjoy sports that repeatedly rely on certain parts of your body, such as running or swimming
- Have underlying biomechanical issues that make you more prone to strains or injuries
- Have had a previous injury that’s introduced a weakness in that area
- Are awaiting surgery and want to be in the best shape for it.
If you think you might benefit from prehab, then please come and see us at Southport Central Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic. Our experienced physios will assess you and recommend exercises that may improve your strength, flexibility or agility to reduce the risk of injury and help you enjoy exercising safely.