Most of us are familiar with the concept of rehabilitation, the undertaking of a treatment and exercise regime following an illness or injury and most people seek treatment only when they’re already hurt.
To help prevent injuries, many Osteopaths have begun to employ what we like to call “prehabilitation” strategies.
Prehabilitation is essentially preventive training and treatment to help stop a problem before it happens.
The same risk factors are seen time and again for a whole host of common injuries such as runner’s knee, shoulder impingement syndromes and lower back injuries, among others. These injuries are common, but in many cases they are preventable.
If you can identify any significant risk factors in advance, appropriate treatment and training can begin to correct them before an injury occurs.
The three phases of prerehabilitation plan are:
- Analysing an uninjured player’s posture, joint alignment, flexibility, muscle control, biomechanics, core stability and movement patterns,
- Understanding the risks and requirement of the sport/activity itself, and
- Considering other specifics such as the player’s position, techniques and history.
Prehabilitation helps you to;
- Achieve optimal static and dynamic posture
- Correct muscle length/strength imbalances, joint alignment and flexibility
- Enhance muscle endurance
- Increase efficiency with strength and power boosting movement patterns
- Enhance individual joint and whole body position sense
The prehabilitation approach for each sport and positions (eg defender vs attacker) within those sports will differ, it is important to seek the advice of an Osteopath with a particular interest in your sport.
By improving muscle strength and endurance, prehab reduces the chance of injury once conditioning programs are resumed. This preparation helps to accelerate the transition back into full function.