Sit less, move more; how movement can aid rehabilitation

Danielle Gibson

A recent report for the online journal BMJ (British Medical Journal) Open has shown that the increasingly sedentary lifestyle that many of us lead is literally taking years off our lives. In the report, scientists have suggested that limiting the time we sit down to just three hours a day could add an extra two years to our life expectancy.

Leading a lifestyle where we spend most of our time sitting down, be it because we hold an office job or because we spend hours watching TV or playing computer games, clearly has a negative impact on our overall health.

But the message of moving more not only promotes a healthy lifestyle, it also helps to aid rehabilitation for individuals who have been involved in an accident. A large range of injuries that result in personal injury claims require some form of rehabilitation; everything from whiplash injuries to the partial loss of a thumb, finger or other limb. As part of the claims process, we regularly send our clients to visit independent medical experts, who will perform an examination. The prognosis they provide will aid us in the settlement of the claim. But their advice will also cover whether or not physiotherapy or movement exercises would be beneficial to the client’s recovery process.

If the medical expert does advise that our client visit a physiotherapist, arrangements can be made for this to happen, either through one of the medical agencies that we work with, or by the client, via the NHS. The client’s lawyer will advise on the most appropriate way to arrange an appointment; it may be that if the NHS waiting list in your area is unfeasibly long to meet the recovery demands of the client’s injury that we seek to get them seen privately, or it may be that an NHS physiotherapist is appropriate for the client’s needs.

The physiotherapist will assess the client, diagnose their injury and determine a goal for their recovery. Physiotherapy can sometimes help a client make a complete recovery from their injuries. On other occasions, it could help the client gain back some function from an injury where loss of function has occurred, such as a partial limb amputation. The physiotherapist will advise the client on what the most appropriate goals will be and what is realistically achievable with their injury.

In any case of physical injury, we recommend that our clients undertake simple exercises to help them extend their range of movement. Remaining sedentary throughout the length of your prognosis will do nothing to aid your recovery, but moving around can help strengthen your muscles and aid recovery by rebuilding them. Your GP will be able to provide you with the best advice if you want to embark upon a programme of movement-aiding recovery and we would always advise that if you have been injured, that you visit your GP for advice on recovery and movement exercises.

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