When you have suffered an injury or have gone through a surgery that limits your physical movement, you will need a trained physiotherapist to help you return to your previous level of activity. Your physiotherapist will prescribe treatments and exercises specific to your condition to help you regain maximum function and movement. To get the best results as fast as possible, you may need to incorporate physio exercises at home to complement the exercises done at the hospital's rehab centre. But is it possible to do your own physio exercises at home, especially if you don't have free weights or fancy machines to help stretch and strengthen your body?
Before you try any of these suggestions, it is important that you speak with a physiotherapist to make sure that they are suitable for your condition.
1. Hand towel to improve grip strength
If you are working with your physiotherapist to strengthen a weakened grip due to conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome, you can use a hand towel you have at home to help the muscles around the wrists and hands.
- Roll the hand towel.
- It should be around 2 – 3 inches in diameter.
- Grip and hold for 3 seconds then slowly release.
- Repeat for 10 – 15 repetitions.
2. Rubber band to strengthen muscles around your fingers
Keeping your finger muscles strong can help keep your hands functioning properly. You can do this with exercises using a rubber band. Experiment with different sizes and thickness of a few rubber bands until you get the tension right for each exercise.
- Place the elastic band around your fingers and thumb and spread them out until you feel resistance from the rubber band.
- Hold that position for 2 seconds before slowly release the tension.
- You can also work on spreading apart just 2 fingers at a time in the same way.
3. Water-filled bottle to strengthen your wrist
Strengthen your wrist or elbow at home with a 500ml bottle. Fill the bottle with water to give it some weight, which is necessary for this exercise. You can increase the intensity of the exercise by placing your grip away from you for as far as you can go.
- Rest your forearm on a table and hold the water bottle upright in your palm.
- Slowly twist your wrist so that your palm faces downward and then twist back to the original position.
- Switch hand and do the same with the other wrist.
- Repeat the movement with each hand for about 10 – 15 times.
4. Bath towel to loosen a frozen shoulder or ease rotator cuff tendonitis and shoulder pain
Your physiotherapist will have prescribed certain exercises to stretch your shoulder and you will need to do these exercises regularly at home so that the loosening starts to take effect. One such exercise is the internal rotation stretch, which you can do with a towel.
- Drape a bath towel over your stiff shoulder and hold one end of the towel in your hand at shoulder level.
- Reach your other hand behind your back and grab the other end of the towel.
- Pull the towel up your back until you feel a stretch in your shoulder.
- Hold the stretch for 15 seconds.
- Repeat this exercise 10 times.
5. Bath towel or bolster for knee and hip injury
If you’ve had surgery on your knee or hip, or have knee pain, you need to strengthen the muscles around the knee to restore function. You will need to work on the quadricep muscles that cross the knee joint and help straighten it. This can be done with a short arc quad exercise using a bath towel or a bolster to support the back of your knee.
- Use a bolster or roll a bath towel (adjust according to your desired thickness).
- Lie down on your back and place the towel across under your knees.
- Straighten the knee as far as possible and tighten the muscles on the top of your thigh.
- Hold for a few seconds and then slowly lower your legs, keeping it against the bolster or rolled up towel.
Article reviewed by Judee Poh, senior physiotherapist at Mount Elizabeth Hospital
Household Items You Can Use for Physical Therapy Home Exercise. Retrieved 14/4/2020 from https://www.verywellfit.com/household-items-you-can-use-to-exercise-2696313