In context of injury, rest is to cease work or movement. This is regularly prescribed immediately following injury. The idea is to avoid further injury and promote healing. Rest is so famous that it gets pole position on the RICE first aid recommendations. It is time for a change! The concept of absolute rest after injury is now out-dated and unhelpful.
Resting deprives the body of valuable stimulation. For almost all musculoskeletal injuries, excessive resting prolongs recovery time and appears to contribute to the development of long-term pain.
Enter MANE, ‘Move About but Not Excessively’. This emphasises the value of moving on or with an injured body part, even in the first days. A mountain of research has formed to support this idea of early mobilisation. This means that it is safe and helpful to move as comfort permits, or with a tolerable amount of pain. Moving early offers
- lower levels of pain intensity,
- earlier return to life activities (everyday things, recreation and work),
- lower re-injury rates,
- a stronger self-confidence in one’s ability to recover, and
- a lower chance of developing long-term pain.
Motion is lotion. Movement is medicine.