Treating Physical Therapy Like It's a Part-time Job
I am (almost needless to write) a huge fan of physical therapy. Not just as a tool for rehabilitation, but for on-going, lifelong health.
Are you in pain? Do you suffer from limited range of motion (ROM)? Or limited strength in that ROM? I have a solution for you: Physical therapy (PT). Not just with a professional for six weeks (as beneficial as that might be), but forever.
Our bodies are designed to move: To move in very different and complex ways, and to do so often. Through inactivity (and in response to pain and injury), many of us have forgotten how to move well. And, in our forgetfulness, key areas of our bodies have atrophied, become unbalanced, and (unfortunately) been shrink-wrapped (w/ myofascial tissue) in those misaligned body positions. The old phrase, "use it or lose it" is about 90% correct in this instance. The reason I write 90% (and not 100%) is because, even if you haven't moved a particular part of your body in 40-years, if you're still vertical and breathing, your body (despite significant atrophy) can be "moved" back to health (or, at least, to a much greater degree of health). If you're still living, it's never too late to begin moving again.
I, personally, spend no less than two hours a day on my own personal PT program. There are many books out there (and not a small amount of YouTube videos) that can provide guidance for you in creating your own personal PT program.
You don't have to accept or resign yourself to chronic pain or significant range of motion impairments. Relief and healing are available. Begin today to focus on doing one or two PT exercises; practice doing them as "correctly" as you can with a focus on “high quality” movements. Once you have the moves down, slowly increase the frequency with which you perform them and, over time, add more exercises. As I wrote above, I spend no less than two hours a day on my PT program. I do A LOT of different things, I do them often, and I spread them out over the course of my entire day. I do my first PT exercises in bed long before the sun gets up, and I do my last excises at around 8:00p (right before my last prayer hour, which I call Good Night, Daddy). Throughout each day, I never stop learning or moving. I call this "The practice of learning first to move healthily and then to move as often as I can."
The really cool thing about PT is it retrains the body to move the ways it WANTS to move...the ways it HUNGERS to move. Or, even more accurately, the ways it's DYING to move. PT is the on-going practice of creating health and healing through gentle, healthy (meaning, physiologically correct), and repetitive movement. The body really can heal itself through movement. The key (again!) is learning first to move well and then to do it often.
Here are some of the movement and training philosophies I draw from personally in my daily practice:
Pete Egoscue (The Egoscue Method).
F.M. Alexander (The Alexander Technique).
Functional Yoga and Pilates.
Wim Hof (The Wim Hof Method).
Animal and Toddler Imitation (Yes, I practice moving like a monkey and rolling around on the ground like a toddler).
Gold Medal Bodies.