After a productive session with a client where their pain is eliminated and full range of motion is restored, I assign them some self-care homework to do between sessions for maintaining their normal muscle resting lengths in the shortened or contracted muscle groups we just lengthened—including specific stretches for maintaining length, and exercises for strengthening the opposing weak muscles. I also warn them that if they don’t to the homework, their pain and dysfunctional pattern with limited range of motion will, in most cases, return within 48 hours.
Why Stretch? Most of us have heard that stretching is good for us, for increasing our range of motion and for keeping the stiffness at bay, but we usually only give it lip service and don’t start doing it until it’s prescribed for our rehabilitation. It is an important part of our home self-care maintenance program, and should be complemented with strengthening the opposing weak inhibited muscles to re-establish muscle balance.
Developing a strong core should also be part of our home maintenance program to stabilize the upper torso during movement and add overall balance for preventing low back pain and falls in older adults. A weak core is a fundamental problem that causes inefficient movement and leads to predictable patterns of injury from falls. Developing a strong core is important and can also assist in the management of chronic pain issues.
A good home self-care maintenance program doesn’t have to take more that 10-15 minutes every morning. I encourage my clients to experiment with a suggested routine designed specifically for them, one that suits their personal needs, decide on one that works best for maintaining an active pain-free lifestyle, and most important—start doing it regularly.
Why Bodywork? It’s common for individuals after surgery or serious injury not to recover their full range of motion or their normal pain free status. These soft tissue dysfunctions can also happen as a result of a wide array of overuse, disuse, spasm, injury, illness, fatigue, aging, poor habits, surgery, or innumerable physical strains from demanding occupations.
Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork has been used for thousands of years to relax muscles, eliminate spasms, diminish fatigue, soften connective tissues to make it more supple, and so free up the joints, restoring a fuller range of painless movement.
A Handbook for Bodywork – Job’s Bodywork, Deane Juhan
Skilled in the latest knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and pathology, today’s bodyworkers are professionally trained to help you maintain your health and support you in your healing process.
Espousing a noninvasive approach to health, they [therapeutic bodyworkers] offer you the luxury of uninterrupted attention to your body’s needs. As Dr. Tiffany Field reminds us, ‘Before drugs, there was massage therapy, massage therapists and bodyworkers are schooled to talk and listen with their hands. It is their mission, and their joy, to serve you with the gift of touch communication.’ I encourage you to experience this gift, often, for yourself. Bodywork, Thomas Claire