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Motion is Lotion: A Physiotherapist's Guide to the Healing Power of Movement

"Motion is lotion" is not just a catchy phrase; it's a mantra that encapsulates the profound impact of daily movement on our bodies, especially during recovery from injury. As a physiotherapist, I am passionate about guiding individuals towards a journey of healing through the principles of a daily movement practice, progressive loading, graded exercise, and understanding the crucial difference between hurt and harm.\

The Healing Power of Daily Movement:

  1. Joint Lubrication: Just as oil keeps machinery running smoothly, movement lubricates our joints. Regular, gentle motion helps distribute synovial fluid, nourishing the cartilage and promoting joint health.

  2. Blood Flow and Oxygenation: Movement enhances blood circulation, delivering essential nutrients and oxygen to tissues. Increased blood flow supports the healing process and helps reduce inflammation.

  3. Muscle Activation: Muscles are designed for movement, and regular activity helps maintain their strength and flexibility. This, in turn, provides stability to joints and reduces the risk of injury.

Progressive Loading:

  1. Building Strength: The principle of progressive loading involves gradually increasing the stress on your body to stimulate positive adaptations. Whether you're recovering from an injury or aiming to prevent one, this approach is crucial for building strength and resilience.

  2. Adaptation and Tolerance: Our bodies adapt to the demands we place upon them. By progressively loading tissues and structures, we encourage them to become more resilient, improving their ability to handle stress without causing harm.

  3. Preventing Overload: Overloading tissues too quickly can lead to setbacks in recovery. A progressive approach ensures that your body has the time to adapt and strengthen without risking re-injury.

Graded Exercise:

  1. Tailoring to Individual Capacity: Graded exercise involves carefully selecting and adjusting exercises based on an individual's abilities and limitations. This personalized approach ensures that the exercise is challenging yet manageable.

  2. Rebuilding Confidence: Graded exposure to movements that may initially cause apprehension helps rebuild confidence. This is especially relevant for individuals recovering from injuries who may fear reinjury.

  3. Balancing Challenge and Safety: Graded exercise strikes a balance between challenging the body to promote adaptation and maintaining a safe environment to prevent unnecessary strain.

Hurt vs. Harm:

  1. Understanding Pain: Pain is a complex and individual experience. It's important to distinguish between the discomfort associated with the natural process of healing and pain that may indicate potential harm or exacerbation of an injury.

  2. Listening to Your Body: Pain is your body's way of communicating. While some discomfort during exercises may be expected, sharp or intense pain may signal a need to modify or cease an activity.

  3. Communication with Your Physiotherapist: Open communication with your physiotherapist is vital. They can provide guidance on distinguishing between normal discomfort and signs of potential harm, ensuring your exercise program aligns with your recovery goals.

Conclusion: In the world of physiotherapy, "Motion is lotion" is not just a saying—it's a prescription for healing. Embracing a daily movement practice, incorporating progressive loading and graded exercise, and understanding the nuances of hurt vs. harm are essential components of a successful recovery journey. As you embark on your path to well-being, remember that your physiotherapist is a valuable ally, providing expertise and guidance to help you move confidently towards a pain-free and resilient future.

Dan Morwood Physiotherapist, DPT, CAFCI, CGDNT

Peak Performance Physiotherapy & Sports Rehab

text/phone (807) 407-4003

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