I am often asked about how to heal faster, so here is the answer. It isn’t a magic bullet but through mechanotherapy, you can heal faster, and stronger.
In the clinic, it is sometimes blindingly obvious whether someone has been doing the exercises I asked of them or not. If they have, they are getting a whole lot better. A large part of why Physcial Therapy (or physiotherapy) works is through challenging your body to adapt and make changes for the better. It encourages your body to heal and improve itself. There is often a hands-on treatment component such as manual therapy and soft tissue releases, as well as effective education on diagnosis and prognosis but these are nothing without you, the patient, taking charge of your rehab.
You can sit back and rely on a clinician to work on you and get you better, or you can take an active approach by following advice and diligently doing the homework given to you. Do them regularly, you are going to get better faster – So why not?
The two approaches are often called active and passive therapy, or active and passive rehab and the main point is that active therapy gets you lasting changes and a more bullet-proof body so that you have less chance of future pain or injury and don’t end up with a “bad shoulder” or “bad ankle” because it wasn’t rehabbed properly
So how does active rehab work so well?
It is simply through utilising our bodies natural adaptation (the use it, or lose it approach) through what is called mechanotherapy, which simply can be described as:
Mechanotransduction is the physiological process where cells sense and respond to mechanical loads
This means that your tissues respond to the load put on them. Here is a brief description from the above study: Mechanotransduction refers to the process by which the body converts mechanical loading into cellular responses. These cellular responses, in turn, promote structural change. A classic example of mechanotransduction in action is bone adapting to load. A small, relatively weak bone can become larger and stronger in response to the appropriate load through the process of mechanotransduction
This is the same process by which your muscles get stronger from training in the gym or on the sports field. So you want to know how to heal faster? Load them and they will adapt, as long as they have adequate time to do so between workouts.(1,2,3)