Once the ART practitioner has released the restrictive adhesions between tissues, post-treatment exercises become a critical part of the healing process and act to ensure the RSI does not return.
There are four fundamental areas that must be addressed in any exercise program:
Good flexibility enables muscles and joints to move through their full range of motion. Poor flexibility leads to a higher chance of injury to muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Stretching exercises are only effective if they are executed after the adhesions within the soft-tissue have been released. Stretching exercises that are applied to adhered tissues will only stretch the tissues above and below the restrictions. The actual restricted and adhered tissues are seldom stretched, leading to further bio mechanical imbalances.
Strengthening exercises are most effective after the adhesions within the soft-tissue have been released. Attempts to strengthen already-shortened and contracted muscles only results in further contraction and restriction. This causes the formation of yet more adhesions and restrictive tissues, and exacerbates the Repetitive Injury Cycle. This is why the application of generic or non-specific strengthening exercises for RSI seldom works.
Balance and Proprioception
Proprioception describes the body’s ability to react appropriately (through balance and touch) to external forces. Proprioception exercises should begin early in the rehabilitation process. Effective proprioception exercises are designed to restore the kinesthetic awareness of the patient. These exercises form the basis for the agility, strength, and endurance required for complete rehabilitation.
Cardiovascular or aerobic exercises are essential for restoring good circulation and for increasing oxygen delivery to soft-tissues. Lack of oxygen and poor circulation is a primary accelerant of repetitive strain injuries.