The concept of early mobilisation as opposed to complete rest for certain types of injuries is supported by various pieces of evidence and is often a part of modern rehabilitation strategies. It is important to note that the appropriateness of early mobilisation depends on the nature and severity of the injury. Here are some reasons why early mobilisation is favoured over complete rest in certain cases:
Prevention of Muscle Atrophy and Joint Stiffness:
Immobilisation or complete rest can lead to muscle atrophy (muscle wasting) and joint stiffness. Early mobilisation helps prevent these negative effects by maintaining muscle strength and joint flexibility.
Improved Tissue Healing:
Controlled and graded movement can stimulate blood flow to the injured area, promoting better oxygen and nutrient delivery to facilitate tissue healing. This is especially important for injuries involving soft tissues like muscles and ligaments.
Reduced Joint Contractures:
Early mobilisation helps prevent joint contractures, which are abnormal shortening of muscles or tendons around a joint. Joint contractures can limit range of motion and lead to long-term functional impairments.
Enhanced Collagen Alignment:
Controlled movement can assist in aligning collagen fibres during the healing process, contributing to stronger and more functional tissue repair.
Being able to move and engage in physical activities, even if modified, can have positive psychological effects on individuals with injuries. It may improve mood, reduce anxiety, and enhance overall well-being.
Faster Recovery and Return to Function:
Early mobilisation is associated with faster recovery and a quicker return to normal activities. Prolonged immobilisation may result in deconditioning and delayed recovery.
Adaptation and Remodelling of Tissues:
Controlled stress on healing tissues can stimulate a more adaptive and functional remodelling response. This is particularly relevant for injuries involving bones and connective tissues.
It's important to emphasise that the decision to pursue early mobilisation should be made on an individual basis, considering the type and severity of the injury, the stage of healing, and the guidance of healthcare professionals. Not all injuries can or should be managed with early mobilisation, and some may require periods of relative rest and protection. Always consult with a healthcare provider for personalized advice based on the specific circumstances of an injury.