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3 Reasons Why Most Rehab Programs Fail

Take a quick scroll through social media or Google, and you’ll find thousands of rehab programs that promise quick relief from pain with little to no effort. 

Most of them fail, and the reasons are obvious when you know what to look for. 

Reason #1- One size fits all

If you see a program claiming to “fix” back pain, knee pain, or shoulder pain without any context, that’s a red flag. 

Let’s look at back pain specifically; are all back injuries the same?

Not even close.

Someone with a low back strain will have different symptoms and need a different program than someone with a bulging disc at L4-L5. Both of those would need a different program than someone with upper back pain due to kyphosis (rounded upper back; think round shoulders and forward head posture from sitting at a desk too much).

There isn’t a program out there that can “fix” all the issues you might come across in a particular joint or region of the body. 

At the opposite end of the spectrum, you have personalized programs built upon assessments of the specific individual. This means the program, lifestyle, time availability, and experience of that person are all taken into account and leveraged for success. 

Reason #2- Education

Most rehab programs focus entirely on the body. There’s a program to follow with exercises, sets, reps, and maybe even warm-ups and cool-downs, but that’s as deep as they go. 

If you’re in pain, you know that your body isn’t the only thing being affected by your injury. 

When you’re injured and unable to participate in life as you’d like, you’re flooded with uncertainty. 

There’s fear around whether or not you’ll be able to ___________ again. (insert your most meaningful physical activity) 

You wonder why it feels the way it does, if it’s normal, and you’re afraid things might get worse. 

Education is the antidote. 

When you understand your body, your injury, and the processes required for healing, the uncertainty goes away. 

Your fear becomes manageable, and instead of paralyzing you, you’re able to work through it. 

That doesn’t happen when all you have is a list of exercises.

Reason #3- Self-efficacy

Self-efficacy grows out of education. 

When you understand your body, how it heals and behaves, and you’ve been guided through setbacks, you’re not dependent upon anyone else.

You’ve learned the ropes for yourself.

You have the tools and the autonomy to work through bumps in the road that will inevitably come your way. 

You don’t get that with a cookie-cutter template and without intentionally crafted education that meets you where you are. 

If you haven’t noticed, we haven’t even spoken about the attributes of an effective program. 

That’s because the program is the EASIEST piece of the rehab puzzle.

It’s navigating the ups and downs of the rehab journey that make all the difference. That’s also where you learn the skills necessary to keep yourself out of pain in the long run. 

To quickly recap

Most rehab programs fail for three reasons

Reason #1- One size fits all

You don’t have a cookie-cutter injury, so a cookie-cutter solution won’t work.

Reason #2- Education

Knowledge is power, and when you’re rehabbing an injury, it’s the power to get out of pain.

Reason #3- Self-efficacy 

It takes more than a program to learn the skills necessary to keep yourself out of pain long after your rehab is through.

If you’re in pain, book a discovery call below to see if we can turn things around.


Larry Hernandez

On Point Movement And Performance

"We Help Active Adults And Athletes Get Back To Their Favorite Workouts And Activities Without Pain Killers Or Surgery"