Strength Exercises for Injury Management

Strength Exercises for Injury Management

One of the most common misconceptions when working with a physio is that your treatment is limited to your appointment. In fact, one of the most crucial elements of your recovery is the rehabilitative work you do in between appointments – and a large part of this will be strength exercises.

Not only important in helping you to regain mobility and flexibility in any injured muscles or joints, strength exercises have been found to be an effective preventative measure against future injuries through building resilience in the body.

As firm believers in evidence-based practice, our physio team at Malvern Physiotherapy Clinic continue to prescribe strength exercises as part of treatment plans for a wide range of common injuries and pain conditions such as osteoarthritis.

So what makes strength training such a widely revered form of both injury recovery and prevention, and so popular amongst physios?

They are proven to be effective

Evidence-based treatment is one of the key pillars of our work as physios, and the evidentiary support for strength exercises in rehabilitation and pain management for injury is extensive.

Particularly effective in older adults, a review of 8 studies of people suffering from osteoarthritis found that regular prescribed strength training had a positive impact on their mobility and strength, while reducing pain. Compared to their peers who did not suffer from the chronic condition, the osteoarthritis sufferers enjoyed up to 33% more function as a result of regular strength training while reporting a decrease in pain of 35%.

Strength training can be just as beneficial as a preventative measure for athletes or active people, too. A 2018 review of six separate studies found that the likelihood of sports injury was reduced by 66% where a regular strength training program was in place; and had 95% confidence in the risk of sports injury more than halving as a result.

Our team regularly reviews the latest literature coming out of the industry to ensure we’re offering the most up-to-date treatment advice to our patients, and each year the support for strength-based training in physio treatment continues to grow.

They improve your function and mobility

Contrary to your natural inclination, keeping your injured or painful body part immobile may actually do it more harm than good.

Strength training targets weakness and stiffness in the muscles that may be contributing to your constant pain or susceptibility to injury. By introducing exercises designed to strengthen your muscles, your physio is working to promote the stability, mobility and function needed for injury recovery and regular, pain-free movement.

A study of chronic back pain sufferers (who had endured persistent back pain for a period longer than 12 weeks) revealed that after following a 12 week strength training program, participants reported an improvement in flexibility and lumbar stability along with a reduction in pain.

Working with a physio is important to ensure your strength exercises are progressively challenging for your stage of recovery, building on the range of motion and required function and strength for each movement without putting you at risk of reinjury.

They are effective for many common conditions

If you have been injured in the past and recall your physio suggesting strength exercises as part of your treatment for a different injury, it should come as no surprise – resistance training has a wide range of applications.

When done with correct technique and professional guidance, strength training can positively impact recovery from and pain management for injury in the back, shoulder, knee and a range of other joints. Soft tissue injuries can also benefit from strength exercises.

One of the most common chronic conditions we treat at Malvern Physiotherapy Clinic is lower back pain – and in good news, strength exercises can be beneficial for this, too.

A 2020 study found that individuals with lower back pain who completed twice-weekly strength training reported lower levels of pain, improved daily functioning and even increases in energy and sleep as a result of these exercises.

The study also noted the importance of professional supervision in strength training for conditions such as lower back pain to avoid exacerbating the condition, with guidance around technique and programming proving to be crucial in participants’ confidence to attempt and stick with the exercises.

They can treat more complex chronic conditions, too

For sufferers of chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, working through strength exercises with your physio can also yield long-term benefits.

A review of 22 studies showed that strength training in fibromyalgia patients led to reductions in pain and fatigue along with parallel symptoms of the condition such as depression and anxiety. Participants were also found on average to report higher levels of daily function and overall quality of life as a result of completing strength exercises.

They can be tailored to suit your lifestyle

Lastly, the versatility of resistance training means that exercises can be just as effective when completed at the gym as they are in your own home.

Having worked with a range of clients from all walks of life – from retirees to school children, from professional athletes to people with disability – our physios have a range of exercises that can be completed with little to no equipment depending on your lifestyle and fitness levels.

Strength exercises for injury recovery don’t have to look like lifting dumbbells – they can be tailored to create a program that is achievable and enjoyable for you to work through in between appointments. If you are recovering from injury, suffering from a chronic or complex condition like arthritis or fibromyalgia, or would like to improve your resistance to injuries in future, our team of friendly physios at Malvern Physiotherapy Clinic can help you to incorporate strength exercises into your treatment. Book an appointment now to learn more about your options and how strength training could improve your lifestyle.


Published May 4, 2022


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