So you went to the doctor and they told you need to have surgery? And you want to do whatever it takes to avoid it. Here are some recommendations!
1. Physical therapy
Of course I’m going to recommend this first, I’m a PT! Physical therapy can be very effective in managing your symptoms, improving your mobility and strength in that area. Depending on the severity, it can take a long time, so you need to be a patient patient. However, long term strengthening and stretching has been shown time and time again to be very effective in managing joint pain. Research shows it takes muscles 6-8 weeks to start to hypertrophy. That’s for a normal, healthy muscle. Injured muscle can take even longer. So if you are going on thinking you will get fast results, you may want to rethink the plan.
2. Personal training
Having all your other joints working and moving efficiently is highly effective in helping you feel better. After all, everything is connected! I highly recommend personal training to help with all you non-injured areas while you are getting physical therapy. Personal trainers are knowledgeable in helping you find activities and movements you can do while the injured area is on the mend. You would be surprised by how much it helps!
Massage can be highly effective in conjunction with physical therapy and training to help keep your muscles active and not aggravated. Notice I didn’t say “loose and not tight.” Muscles don’t actually “loosen or tighten,” it’s all a neuromuscular response that causes you to feel like they are tight. Massages help improve blood flow to painful, “tight” areas, which in turn helps to decrease the neurological system on that area. Benefits are short term when done by itself, but combined with PT or other activities, it can be a huge help.
4. Yoga (gentle)
I love recommending yoga, but not for the benefits you might think. Everyone things yoga helps you “stretch out.” Remember what I just said about muscles? They don’t actually get “tight,” your nerves just make you feel like they are tight. Yoga combines my two best rehab techniques, proper positioning and breathing. Your respiratory system is our #1 defender against a pissed off neurological system, and proper breathing is crucial for calming an angry system. Yoga actually strengthens your body and calms your neurological system, making you feel “loose.”
I love swimming as an activity. You can’t go wrong with buoyancy. Depending on the area that hurts, you may be limited in what you can do on land, but there are so many exercises and activities you can do in the pool besides lapping it up with the backstroke that is incredibly beneficial for you. Not to mention you can really work on your endurance!
There you have it. The top conservative treatments I feel are best for preventing surgery. Combine them up and you should have some success. Just be patient, because strengthening can take some time. However, if you decide to have surgery, you are going to have a long recovery anyways, and the dirty little secret is, I would still recommend the same treatments. So either way, you really need to get in the habit of moving different than you may not be doing already.
Ready to get to work? Check out my services page to learn more about how you can get started on your rehab journey.