Exercise is an integral element of physical therapy. It helps accelerate the recovery of patients back to their functioning state. Moreover, these exercises can be done by anyone regardless of their health condition.
While most gyms and training facilities may be closed due to the pandemic, here are some physical therapy exercises that you can do at home.
What are physical therapy exercises?
Physical therapy is a targeted treatment regimen commonly used for patients recovering from serious injuries, illnesses, or surgery. A licensed physical therapist formulates a specific program designed for the needs of the patient and the condition they aim to restore. This treatment plan includes a series of exercises aimed at restoring bodily function and mobility.
While physical therapy exercises primarily target recovering people, they can also benefit people of all ages and medical conditions. They help relieve chronic pains, prevent sports-related injuries for athletes, manage age-related health issues like arthritis, and maintain overall health and well-being. Other benefits include improved muscle and joint strength, flexibility, mobility, and range of motion.
Here are some of the physical therapy exercises you can try doing at home.
Do you sometimes feel an ache on your neck during long bouts of staring at your computer screen? Repetitive stress on your neck results in rigid neck muscles. To reduce pain, you can perform stretching exercises to stimulate blood flow and ease muscle tension.
This simple neck circle exercise can provide quick relief to your sore neck due to looking at screens for hours.
- Assume a relaxed sitting position on your chair.
- Keep your back straight by resting it against a flat surface.
- Gently move your head in a circular motion clockwise.
- Perform the same step but in a counterclockwise direction.
- Repeat the actions as needed.
Shoulder pains can arise when your shoulder muscles stiffen due to various causes like poor posture and unnecessary stress. There are different physical therapy exercises for shoulder pain relief. You can try this simple shoulder roll exercise to release tension from your shoulders.
- Sit with your back straight against a flat surface such as a wall or a chair.
- Maintain a relaxed position.
- Roll your shoulders forward, creating circular motions in the process.
- Pause, then roll them backward.
- Repeat the motions until you feel relieved.
If you are looking for physical therapy workouts to strengthen your core, you can try this simple bridge exercise. It targets your abdominal muscles and hip extensors through bridge-like motions. You can complete this exercise on a yoga mat, your floor, or your bed.
- Lie on your back with your feet on the floor, knees bent, and arms down on the side.
- Pinch your buttocks and lift them off the floor, forming a position akin to a bridge.
- Remain in this position for five seconds.
- Return to your initial position gradually and repeat the steps.
People working from home spend at least eight hours of the day in their workspaces with minimal movement. Some also lead sedentary lives, often sitting in front of the TV for hours without sparing any time for exercise.
A simple sit-to-stand exercise can remedy this lifestyle. This can ease you into being physically active after long periods of being idle. You can incorporate this exercise into your daily schedule as you sit down to study, work or watch TV.
- Sit halfway on a sturdy chair, maintaining a relaxed posture.
- Move to a standing position.
- Slowly return to your seat.
- This should take a longer time compared to standing up.
- Repeat the process as you see fit.
Lower Back Stretch
With poor posture comes back pain. Lower back pains can arise from assuming a hunched position for extended periods. It is often accompanied by stiffness and tightening of your lower back muscles. As such, it is important to stretch them out to retain and maintain their flexibility.
Here is a simple lower back stretch exercise that you can do while you are seated.
- Sit with your knees far apart.
- Lean your upper body forward to the floor until you reach a comfortable position for your lower back.
- Hold this position for five seconds.
- Repeat the steps until you feel relief.
Hamstring muscles are located at the back of your thighs. Your hamstrings are responsible for the movement of your hips and knees for activities such as walking, running, and bending your knees. However, they are more prone to injuries and strains.
Performing simple hamstring stretches can tremendously help not only in preventing leg injuries but also in improving its flexibility.
- Lie on your back with one leg raised near your chest and the other leg lying flat on the floor.
- Slowly stretch the leg near your chest as far as you can. Your leg does not have to be completely straight. As long as you can feel a stretch in the back of your thigh, then it is good.
- Hold this position for 5 to 30 seconds.
- Slowly place your leg down.
- Repeat the same steps on your other leg.
Have you ever wondered how athletes train to jump high and run fast? Training your legs to develop strong calves can propel your running speed, pace, and improve your endurance.
Calf muscles are bolstered with regular exercise. Heel raises are perfect for beginners aiming to increase their calf strength. This can be completed anywhere in the house with a spot to lean on to.
- Stand straight with your feet firmly planted on the ground. You can hold on to a countertop or a sturdy table to keep you stable as you do this exercise.
- Slowly lift yourself on your toes.
- Return to your standing position at a slower rate.
- Repeat the process whenever necessary.
Move Better with Physical Therapy
These simple exercises can help continue your physical therapy at home. However, in case you feel more than minor discomforts during your workouts, it’s best to consult a physical therapist for a specialized regimen for your needs.