I’m sure you are wondering why prehab is important and something you would want to read about. Well just think, if you were going to run a 5K, you would train for it, right? Or even when you cook a meal you prepare all your ingredients before you cook. So, you should treat your body the same way. If you train your muscles surrounding your most vulnerable joints, you not only prevent injury but prevent repeated wear and tear of those muscles.
In athletics you hear the word pre-season all the time. This term means the period of time before an athletic season begins when athletes go under specific training to help prepare their bodies for the upcoming season.
Just like the world of athletics, the sports medicine world has a term we use, and it is called prehabilitation also known as prehab. This term means any proactive approach to avoid pain and injury.
This is a time period, in the athletics world, when you build strength and stability around your most vulnerable areas, while improving mobility, balance and joint function to decrease your potential risk for injury, typically during preseason or offseason workouts.
But we don’t just use prehab as a means to keep athletes safe from injury; it’s also used to help prepare an athlete for surgery.
Joints that are most vulnerable to injuries and benefit a lot from prehab are your shoulders and knees. The rotator cuff is one of the most injured muscle groups by athletes and everyday people alike. Keeping those muscles strong and performing a prehab strengthening routine can help prevent shoulder injuries and decrease your risk of having surgery. Doing simple exercises with a theraband can strengthen this muscle group and is something you can easily do at home.
With knees, developing tendinitis or having a ligament or meniscus injury are the common injuries most people know about. The quads provide a lot of support for the knee joint and if you can keep them strong, the joint will stay stable and decrease your chance of injury. Your quads and hamstrings work together and if one muscle group is stronger than the other then you put your knees at a higher risk of injury. So, if you can keep your quads and hamstrings strong it will help prevent injuries to your knees.
Another important part of your body that should always be included in your prehab is your core. Your core plays such a big role, not only in protecting your vital organs, but also in the stability of your body. If your core is strong it helps your posture which in return helps in the stability of all other joints and muscle groups in your body.
Most exercises that you do involve some type of core activation so the stronger your core the better your form will be when performing prehab exercises, which will decrease your chance of pain/injury while increasing your strength within the muscle groups and joints of your body.
Prehab is also very important for people to do before they have any type of orthopedic surgery. The purpose of prehab before surgery is to get the injured joint and surrounding muscles strong to help in the healing process. It has been shown in studies that if your do prehab before surgery it improves your postoperative functional recovery. The stronger you are before the surgery the less your muscles will atrophy post-surgery and will help you regain your strength and mobility quicker.
As odd as it might seem to do prehab, it is the best way to decrease your chances of injury and to help increase your recovery post-surgery.