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Prehab vs Rehab: It’s your choice

On an average in Australia, the incidence of sports related injuries in the past 6 months is more than 50% and 30-50% of the injuries are actually preventable. As the saying goes “Prevention is better than cure”. But how do we prevent these injuries?

Prehab! The term prehab simply means preventing injury. However, prehab doesn’t start when your sporting season begins but in a matter of fact, begins during the early pre-season. During your pre-season training, it should encompass sports specific elements like strength training, regular stretching exercises and most importantly, sports specific drills. The demand for each sport is different so assessing your sport capability before the start of pre-season is essential. Each individual is as different as the demand of each sport, thus each prehab program should be individually tailored.

Your tailor program should be designed by a physiotherapist or sports trainer who has a good understanding of your sport and must have done a detailed assessment of your physique to determine what needs to be done. The tailored prehab program should target your weak and tight muscles and also to familiarize you with the demands of the sports. The improved strength would enable your body to be able to withstand impact, and with an increased flexibility, the possibility of ligament strain would decrease. However, the most important part of your prehab in pre-season is the sports specific drills. Sports specific drills train your body to anticipate any possible danger that might happen. This mechanism of anticipation is known as feedforward mechanism and is the best way to prevent injuries.

As we all know, rehabilitation would normally take about 3 weeks to as long as 6 months, depending on the nature and severity of your injury. However, there actually isn’t a time frame for prehab. Prehab should be an ongoing part of your training, from pre- season to regular season. Your prehab regime will need to be regularly reviewed and modified from time to time as your strength, flexibility and feedforward ability improves.

Thus if you wish to have an injury free season, prehab is an essential part of your pre-season preparation.

Reference:

  1. K.L. Johnson ‘Prehab’ to avoid Rehab About.com:Sports Medicine Nov 2003
  2. P. Fricker Preventative Sports Medicine Elastoplast Sports Medicine Video

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