When it comes to rehabbing your body from an ache, pain, or injury, what do you do after the area in question starts feeling better? Should you stop doing the drills that got you to this healing place? Or do you have to do them forever?
You want to make sure you handle your body correctly going forward. You want to make sure you do what’s necessary to stay healed, but you also only have so much time for movement, training, and workouts, each day.
A reader recently asked this question after she had been using the drills in my Kiss Neck And Shoulder Tension Goodbye Workshop for a few weeks. I’m answering her question below and the sentiments can apply to any ache or injury, not just neck tension or shoulder pain.
I have been using your neck and shoulder drills [from your neck and shoulder tension online workshop] for a couple of weeks every day and they do make a difference!
My question to you is now that my neck and shoulders are feeling better, is it necessary to do the drills every day, or can I go on a maintenance program where I do them perhaps 3 or 4 times a week?
Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
– B., an FFRL reader
Thanks for writing in to share how your neck and shoulder training is going and woohoo for making progress! So pumped for you! Your question is a great one because we know movement is good and necessary, but how much movement, which movements, and what about movements that helped you heal…are you forced to do them forever?
First, it’s incredibly important to move every joint in your body through its full range of motion at least once every single day (this is why I provided the Daily Movements Series in my Unbreakable Body Coaching Program).
By rotating each of your joints through their full range of motion independently of other joints slowly and with control, you send valuable information to your brain about that joint and the tissues surrounding it.
You also support the ongoing process of cellular regeneration that is occurring every day until your last. When you put specific signaling into your cells about how you want them to function, they pass that information on to the next cells that are generating to replace them.
You also help your brain understand how to use and control each joint. The joint capsule is the first line of communication between the joint and the brain. If your joint capsule does not function well with clean, smooth, controlled, complete, range of motion, it affects your brain’s perception of that joint.
Daily movement of each of your joints through their range of motion also assists in articular health and longevity, as well as the often overlooked aspect of “joints that feel better when they move just feel better“, which makes you more likely to move more in general.
But what about the specific drills in the workshop that have shown a positive effect for your neck and shoulder issues you were having?
When doing drills to recover an injury or heal an ache, you can indeed shift yourself into more of a “maintenance mode” with them as you notice your body feeling better.
Where many folks go astray though is by doing exclusively ‘rehab’ type drills and then stopping those drills completely and going straight back into whatever type of training, activity, or sport, they were doing before.
Instead of seeing “injury recovery” and “regular workouts/training/sports” as a black/white thing, see it as a spectrum.
(*Because these terms can mean different things to different people, a simple clarification: “injured” here implies “the tissue and joint in question need signaling to recover from damage incurred during an acute injury or as an outcome from chronic ache, pain, or injury. “Healed” will be variable based on the person in question but “can safely move through ROM necessary to do activities in question” will suffice for space allotted here.)
As healing occurs, you want to continue supporting the healing process while also starting to introduce new signals for your body to respond to.
Especially in the time-crunched life most of us live, reducing the volume of ‘healing drills’ you were doing allows you to have space to introduce new movements and drills that signal to your body how you’d like it to respond.
Dropping the neck and shoulder drills down from ‘daily’ to ‘4x/week’ is a great midway point for most people, and you certainly could play with varying the reps you do and altering the frequency with which you do them.
My goal for you is to always know for yourself how much of any one thing you need – so instead of strict lifelong guidelines for how often to do the drills, aim instead to notice what signals you’re sending to your body, and what responses your body is giving to you, and adjust accordingly.
Since a few of the drills take you through the range of motion your neck and shoulders should have, you’ll still want to get that daily movement for those areas, but you certainly could reduce the frequency of doing the full routine.
With that time you’ve now free’d up, I hope you’ll continue finding fun ways to help your body feel great, move well, and tap into its true potential!
Bring new signals to your hips and start helping them to respond in a way you prefer.
Make your hips feel and function better with the Unbreakable Hips Program.