Located in Sterling, VA (703) 421-1200

Total Results is The Best Therapy, by Matthew Romans

When an injury, inflammation, or physical ailment occurs in the human body, most people's first instinct is to rest or do nothing, in hope that the problem gets better on its own. Most family physicians will probably give the same advice, and may even prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication. Unfortunately, this does not get to the root of the problem; it only treats the symptom. Most doctors know very little about what constitutes true muscle-strengthening exercise, so they usually prescribe rest, or at most, a gentle walking program. In some cases, the doctor will recommend physical therapy.

Traditional physical therapy often focuses on the wrong things. It incorporates modalities that provide minimal benefit, while checking off all the boxes accepted by the insurance company. A lot of time is dedicated to electrical stimulation, stretching, icing, and so-called "functional movements' which provide little benefit (and some of this can be done at home). Physical therapy focuses on restoring normal range of motion (which is important), but it doesn't place a premium on increasing strength; the connection between strength, range of motion, and functionality seems to be missed. When strength training is performed, it is usually performed in a haphazard fashion, without any consideration for speed of movement, change of direction, body alignment and positioning, or progression. Weight and repetitions are selected arbitrarily. Is this really the best way to rehabilitate an existing injury or protect yourself from being injured in the future?

There is a better way: Total Results exercise. The body is fairly resistant to change, and it needs a very good reason to adapt. The same is true for rehabilitating an injury. When an injury occurs, there is a loss of strength in the muscle(s) affected, or in the muscles surrounding that affected joint. When there is a loss of strength, there is also a loss of function. You must work to build strength in order to improve and restore function. What is needed is a stimulus. You must cross a stimulus threshold in order for the body to adapt; performing 30 repetitions with 5 pounds of resistance won't do it. The resistance should be meaningful enough so you reach momentary muscular fatigue in proper form within 1 ½ to 3 minutes of elapsed time.

If you have suffered an injury, avoiding exercise is the worst thing you can do. If you do nothing to strengthen the affected muscle/joint, the problem will be exacerbated due to greater atrophy. This leads to a further decrease in function. We often see this scenario with people who have suffered a back injury. Some of it is psychological; a person is told by his doctor or physical therapist not to perform a certain exercise, and the person becomes fearful of suffering another injury. No physical activity is without risk, but properly performed exercise is as safe as taking a walk. Tim has had two herniated discs in his lower back for many years, and even though he occasionally deals with back pain he performs the Lumbar Extension exercise every week in his workouts. Keep in mind that when I say "aggressive" therapy it should not be misconstrued as unsafe. Just the opposite. We utilize a very slow movement speed (ten seconds in each direction) with careful and precise turnarounds (change of direction) while closely monitoring the client for form discrepancies. Even though we are working very intensely, the most intense repetitions (those toward the end of the exercise) are actually the safest because we have weakened the musculature to the point where their capacity to produce injurious force is significantly lessened. Range of motion is certainly important; utilizing our slow movement speed in a pain-free range of motion will increase functionality and also enhance your flexibility without performing additional stretching.

Total Results exercise is true therapy for improving strength, restoring muscular function, and reducing pain, in addition to addressing the needs of the cardiovascular and metabolic systems. We often make modifications to our exercise methodology by using Timed Static Contractions, negative-only protocol, manual resistance, or even adjusting your range of motion to avoid further joint irritation, but the key is to work intensely and intelligently. Client feedback is very important, and we take the time to educate our clients about the process and help them to differentiate between injurious pain and exertional muscular discomfort. We have almost twenty years of experience in helping clients to restore function and get more out of life. If you or someone you know needs help in rehabilitating an injury, we would be happy to schedule an initial consultation. Get Total Results.

Posted June 24, 2020 by Tim Rankin