Why Do Physios Prescribe Exercises

Blogs, / By Winsen Citra

When you go to a physiotherapist, one thing that you are sure to leave with is a list of exercises that your physio asks you to do at home. Some of the movements that we ask you to do may feel a bit difficult to do and may appear to have nothing to do with the condition that you come in with. So, why do we prescribe them to you?

Why do Physiotherapists prescribe you exercises?

The simple answer to it is the exercises is a treatment. Most injuries or conditions that you have are usually caused by some kind of muscle imbalance or a disfunctional movement pattern. The exercises we prescribe is used as a means to treat those imbalances and correct your movement pattern.

While you ma have similar symptoms or even diagnosis as someone you know, it doesn’t mean that you will be prescribed the same exercises. This is because the underlying movement pattern causing the condition may be different from your friend. Therefore, it is crucial to get a personalised exercise plan from your physiotherapist, who have the knowledge and skills to determine which ones are suitable for you.

Do I have to do the exercises?


I would like to not have to explain this one, but this question is one that I get often from my patients, so I will. You usually get injured because some specific muscles are weak. These are usually supporting muscles that help stabilise your joints during movements. If you do not do your exercises, these muscles will remain weak and you are predisposed to lingering symptoms and may even risk further injury. It is also important to note that even if you are ‘fit’, you may still have weak supporting muscles that lead to injuries. This is usually why some of the exercises prescribed by your physios tend fo be movements that you do not do in the gym.

Exercise is treatment

This is a point that I would like to stress. Some of my patients don’t think that the exercises are important. The treatment at the clinic, while it helps your symptoms and make you feel better, is not enough to fix your muscle imbalance and movement pattern. Just like how medical doctors prescribe you oral medication to be taken at home after your injection in the clinic, we prescribe you home exercises to complement our in-clinic treatment. Just like how you do not skip taking your medicaiton, you should not skip your exercises because that means you’re skpping your treatment. In the same way a medical treatment will not work if you do not take the medication, a physiotherapy treatment will not work if you skip the exercises. Exercises is a physiotherapist’s version of medication.

We hope this has been useful for you. Find out more useful exercises by checking out our instagram page. Feel free to contact us should you have further questions.

Winsen Citra
Principal Physiotherapist

Winsen graduated from University of Melbourne in 2012. He worked in organisations of various sizes such as Singapore General Hospital, Pain Relief Practice, and Physioclinic before working at Elevate Physiotherapy. He specialises in sports and musculoskeletal injuries and has worked with athletes of various sports such as fencing, dancing, dragon boating, and cycling.

In his spare time he enjoys singing and playing chess.