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Exercise prescription–it’s not just the exercises that matter…

As exercise professionals we may perceive that addressing the psychosocial factors that accompany pain conditions as a time-consuming and difficult challenge. But multiple studies shed light on the benefits of physical activity when it comes to reducing perceived disability and fear of movement.(Sullivan et al., 2006),(Dunne et al., 2012) And here’s the fascinating twist: it’s not just the exercise itself that’s making the difference!

Take whiplash for example. Catastrophising is widely recognised as a factor in delayed recovery. It has been assumed that this can only be addressed by cognitive behavioural therapy and progressive goal attainment programs. But did you know the simple act of exercise prescriptions with a qualified health professional also improves perceived disability and fear of movement?

So, what’s behind this phenomenon? It might have something to do with the interpersonal dynamics between the practitioner and the client.(Sullivan et al., 2006),(Dunne et al., 2012) It seems that practitioners who prescribe exercise naturally employ methods that help decrease pain catastrophising.

Isn’t that fascinating? The power of a supportive and encouraging relationship cannot be underestimated. It goes beyond the physical movements and taps into the emotional support that comes from a trusted therapist-client bond.

We’re thrilled to see how this insight can enhance the care we provide to our wonderful clients. It reinforces the importance of fostering strong connections and providing a safe and supportive environment as we guide them on their journey towards better health and well-being.

Dunne, R. L., Kenardy, J., & Sterling, M. (2012). A randomized controlled trial of cognitive-behavioral therapy for the treatment of PTSD in the context of chronic whiplash. The Clinical Journal of Pain,28(9), 755–765.

Sullivan, M. J. L., Adams, H., Rhodenizer, T., & Stanish, W. D. (2006). A psychosocial risk factor–targeted intervention for the prevention of chronic pain and disability following whiplash injury. Physical Therapy,86(1), 8–18.

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