Today I met with Westcoast SCI Physiotherapist, Patrick, for my very first physiotherapy session.
As a relatively healthy, active, and young person, I wasn’t entirely sure what I’d be getting out of my appointment. I complete HIIT body-weight training 3 times a week, alongside 5k runs twice a week. When asked if I have any injuries or body pains, my response was as an easy “no”. The most severe injury I’ve ever had was probably a couple jammed fingers from volleyball or a bruised tailbone from snowboarding – nothing chronic! Another pre-assessment question Patrick asked was what my goals were from these sessions. Thinking That I am already in good shape and not very injury-prone, my main goal was to fix my posture (especially as a student who spends the majority of her days sitting). Although I didn’t give him much to work with, Patrick completed a physical assessment to test for my balance, strength, and joint mobility. Once my assessment was complete, I learned that the thoracic muscles in the middle of my back were tighter than on my right side than my left.
Westcoast SCI uses an active based approach to physiotherapy so we moved on to the gym to work on exercises that focused on the core, thoracic back muscles, and glutes. These exercises included
Standing Russian Twists
Thread the Needle
and Hip Thrusts
(amongst a dozen more). The exercises weren’t too intense, and we went through each at just the right pace where Patrick pointed out which muscles should be feeling tension. We finished my session with static stretches. Out of curiosity, I asked what the purpose of static stretching was in opposition to dynamic stretches. He explained that dynamic stretches incorporate more movement in order to warm up and loosen your muscles prior to exercising. Alternatively, static stretching is optimal for cool-down and relaxes the muscles post-workout.
My main takeaways?
As a regularly active person, you may feel healthy and energized, but there is always room for improvement in your routines and exercises. I would have never known about the imbalanced thoracic muscles in my back if I hadn’t come in for a physiotherapy session. Now that I do, I am more conscious of the specific muscles I am working with each move. Having a trained professional recommend exercises specific to my body and goals was extremely helpful to someone like me, who relies on Instagram videos and eBooks to generate and modify fitness routines. Sure, physiotherapy is best for those recovering from injuries and rehab. But after one session, I realized that physiotherapy can be beneficial for everyone, no matter how athletic or in shape you think you are.
This post is part of our New-to-Physio blog series. To read more stories like this, click here.