Regardless of your injury/condition, you're probably not going to want to do much if you're in pain. That's why the first thing I address with my clients is pain.
Pain is simply a warning sign to get you to pump the brakes. Continue on the path you're on and it's not going to end well. So, step 1 - eliminate pain.
There are many ways to do this but the most important thing is to figure out what's causing your pain. If your hand is on a hot burner, move your hand. If your squat looks like you’re trying to do the stanky leg, fix your squat. Once we identify the cause, we coax the body into relaxing and decreasing the pain response. This is where treatments such as massage, cupping, dry needling, flossing, taping and scraping come into play. It's not all about the hands-on approach. Exercise has been shown to be as effective if not more effective in managing pain!
Now that your pain is gone, it's time to focus on regaining full range of motion. Step 2 - restore full range of motion. This goes for both flexibility and mobility. The difference? Flexibility is how much a muscle can stretch. Mobility is how much your joints can move. You can't have one without the other and it's vital to understand which you need to focus on. Ways to work on this? The same things that help with pain. BUT, here’s the kicker. Massage, scraping, dry needling, etc. are all great ways to help increase range of motion. Unfortunately, they are all short term fixes. That's why you have to solidify your newfound range with strength.
Its time to get fricken strong. Step 3 - get strong AF. By step 3 you're either mostly pain-free or completely pain-free. Wait, you can’t exercise through pain! Guess what, just because you have a bit of pain doesn't mean you can't exercise! We just have to be smart about which exercises are used and how much volume you perform. This is our best shot at addressing the underlying factors that caused your injury in the first place. This is the longest and hardest step but by golly, it's worth it. This is also the most fun because this is where the magic happens. Getting strong AF means you’re performing high-level movements and addressing your weaknesses because let's face it, you’re only as strong as your weakest movement.
Now, you're pain-free, you move well and you’re getting strong AF. Its time to keep it that way. That means you're in the management phase. Step 4 - keep getting strong AF. Your rehab program includes exercises to ensure you stay pain-free, maintain your flexibility and mobility and continue to address your weaknesses.
Wherever you're at in the rehab process, the most important thing to remember is that nothing can replace exercise. You can’t massage strength into your glutes and you definitely cant needle the stanky leg out of your squat. There is a time and a place for hands-on treatments, but they can't steal the show if you want long-lasting results!