Common destructive behaviors that sabotage your efforts to feel better
By Lizz Pugh, LMT –
Patients invest deeply in themselves, both in time and finances, by seeing a supportive and knowledgeable bodywork team.
Whether it’s a neuromuscular therapist and rehab specialist, chiropractor, or physical therapist, there’s a significant portion of time they are not under direct supervision. Often this is when hidden destructive temptations and behaviors occur. Here are the top three to nix this New Year.
Destructive Behavior #1:
Not Doing Your Therapy at Home
If your healthcare provider suggested that you do a certain exercise or therapy, avoid the temptation to skip “just this time” or “just for the weekend”. Different exercises have different intents and are designed to be done with specific frequencies.
To increase your own compliance, make sure you understand WHY you’re supposed to do the exercise as well as how often and for how long. Some may only need to be done when you’re in pain, others you need to do despite how well (or poorly) you’re feeling. If lack of time is an issue, discuss whether you can break up the therapy to smaller increments throughout the day.
Destructive Behavior #2:
Everyone responds differently to care. Some patients feel better right away, but most take several visits. It’s not unusual to feel worse before you feel better. Even if you’re feeling poorly, keep your appointment and discuss your symptoms with your provider.
Likewise, if you start to feel better, it’s not the time to back off. Once the initial pain decreases it’s tempting to lose motivation and get back to your “normal” life, but that’s the time we should take advantage of as we can be more aggressive. Also be aware that lack of pain does not always mean better function. Allow your therapist to determine if it’s time to decrease the frequency of visits.
Destructive Behavior #3:
Continuing to Aggravate Yourself
The majority of patients have chronic pain that built up over time, usually due to muscle imbalances that slowly worsened. Many patients spend their evenings sleeping in a way that causes damage, rather than in a way that improves their health. Then they drive to work without lumbar support, sit in a non-ergonomic office for hours, and then drive home only to sit in front of the television. They irritate their muscles more and more, using them less and less. Work with your therapist to identify what behaviors are aggravating your condition and change them. Once you eliminate them, your progress at the office should improve more rapidly.