Physiotherapy exercises to do at home are great for minor muscle injuries. I’ve had my (un)fair share of injuries, building up a wealth of unfortunate experience with these exercises. The most commonly injured body parts are the knee and back, so I’ll focus on them.
Physiotherapists (physical therapists) are usually very busy. If your injury isn’t major, you may have to wait weeks to be seen.
In that time you could develop stiffness and lose muscle tone, making the injury worse and prolonging your recovery. Doing these simple physiotherapy exercises helps keep the muscles moving.
You probably already have some sort of pain from the injury, which you’ll have to monitor. There are two types of pain you need to watch out for:
Pain due to stiffness. Bearable during your physiotherapy exercises, eases off soon after. This type of pain is OK to carry on.
Pain due to damage. Unbearable at any point, won’t ease for several days. Stop any exercise immediately. Your muscles aren’t ready for exercise yet. Continue with R.I.C.E.
The best course of action when doing physiotherapy exercises is to write a plan. Record the pain response after each exercise. Either increase or decrease the amount of exercises you do, depending on how bad the pain was. You can get more details here https://www.opalphysio.ca/
Your muscles are in a delicate state, so really focus on the quality of each movement. Go slow and steady, visualising the muscle as you exercise.
Physiotherapy exercises for your back:
1. Lie on your back, both knees bent (feet flat on floor). Tilt hips backward and slightly arch your back. The first movement leads to the second, don’t force the arching. Relax, then tilt hips forward, keeping your bottom on the floor. Your lower back will push into the floor.
2. Lie on your back, both legs straight. Bend your left knee up towards your chest, holding your thigh or the top of the knee. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds, slowly relax. Repeat with right knee.
3. Lie on your front, chin resting on the floor. Bend your arms with hands resting beside your head, palms on the floor and elbows tucked in to your body. Look straight ahead and slowly lift your head up, keep your hips on the floor so that your back arches. Let your arms take the weight. Relax back down slowly.
4. Stand up, arms by your side. Bend down to the right, sliding your right hand down your leg. Come back up slowly and relax. Repeat on your left side.
Physiotherapy exercises for your knee:
1. Sit on the floor, legs straight out in front of you. Place your left hand under your left knee. Contract your quads so your knee pushes down on your hand (lifting your heel into the air). Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat with your right knee.
2. If the above exercise is too hard, then start off with a folded pillow under your knee (slightly bent). Lift your heel up as before, keeping your knee on the pillow.
3. Lie flat on your front with both legs straight. Slowly bend your left knee as much as possible. Hold for 5 seconds. Slowly straighten the knee returning to the start position. Repeat with your right knee.
4. Lie on your back. One knee bent up (foot flat on floor), the other straight. Lift the straight leg up (about 1 foot). Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
These physiotherapy exercises should be used with professional care, or as preventative measures. If you’re in pain from an injury, please see your doctor first.
If you’re not injured, you can still do these physiotherapy exercises. Prevent common injuries in certain parts of your body. Add the specific exercise to your normal workout at least once a week.