Yes, even when you come to see the osteopath we will give you homework (sorry!). This is usually in the form of very simple exercises, stretches, ice packing, simple lifestyle changes etc. I wanted to write this short post to encourage everyone to complete it as I believe it it so important. A large proportion of patients I have seen over the years have openly admitted not doing it at all or only doing it a few times between appointments. The most common reason being lack of time.
We do all lead massively busy lives and there are so many demands on our time, as a mum of two little ones I really appreciate this. In light of this I always try and keep the homework I give out to the absolute minimum. If you think about it, the forty five minutes out of your week that you spend having treatment is such a tiny proportion of your total time. My job as an osteopath is to effectively set your body up in the right way to heal, I can't physically heal your tissues. This is a process that requires much more time and this is why the homework is important, to maintain, support and build on the work we have done in the treatment session. I generally find that the patients who religiously complete their ice packing, exercises etc make faster and stronger recoveries.
Often people find that when they can make their homework part of their daily routine it becomes much easier to fit in. As I said above, I really try to keep it to a minimum, I'm not one to dish out sheets after sheets of exercises, 3-5 well chosen exercises I believe is often more than enough. When the exercises become part of the routine, commonly people continue them even when they are better. They may not do them as regularly over time but they know what to try first to prevent a trip to my treatment room should they start to feel a twinge!
Another problem I often come across is people forgetting exactly what to do, making up their own version from what they can remember and then giving up as it doesn't feel right. I have tried using written hand outs before and also spent time embracing my artistic side and drawing lots of stick men however I still find that words and static images can be interpreted so differently and sometimes doing an exercise incorrectly can be worse than not doing it at all! So in light of this I'm planning put together a few short series of video clips in future blogs that I can refer you to, so you can remind yourself exactly how the exercise should be done. So watch this space!
Hopefully this little pep talk has inspired you to invest some more time in your body when it needs you, it will thank you for doing so!