You can work with Chronic Diseases



How often do we hear, as Therapists or Trainers, "This is a medical condition, you can't help me". We literally despair when we hear this. And yes, they do have a point. We can't treat the underlying condition, although depending what it is, we can certainly make some inroads into it.


Let's take Diabetes, there is a large body of research showing how well exercise works to help the body absorb insulin. It is fascinating. When we exercise we stimulate the Gleut-4 receptors to rise to the cell surface and allow Glucose to enter the cell. The body will do this even in the absence of insulin. This is why you need to be careful when exercising Type 1 diabetics as their blood sugars are likely to drop when they exercise, leading to a hypoglycaemic response. However, if we think about Type 2 diabetics, where they have insulin, but it doesn't work properly, this mechanism is a great way of allowing the body to absorb the sugars without having to resort to insulin injections. As many Type 2 diabetics have this condition due to lifestyle reasons, exercise can help the cause as well, rather than just helping with the symptoms. All exercise produces this response, but studies have shown that High Intensity Exercise (HIT) does it particularly well. So if you are a trainer and have a client that is borderline diabetic, you can certainly train them and HIT exercises would be very appropriate. Be aware though that if they have any sign of heart disease and are unfit, you need to make sure you build them up to HIT training very slowly, this is so you don't dislodge any plaques they may have forming in their bloodstream.


  • If you are using this blog for CPD, do a search for the latest research in this area, critique it and come to your own conclusions. Then write it all in your CPD log.


Let's think about a condition such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, a painful inflammatory condition which uses medications to great effect. How can the Therapist or Trainer help here? Well, again we may not be able to cure the condition, but we can certainly help with the pain associated with it. When you have a condition such as Rheumatoid Arthritis you are often bed bound or immobile during the flare up phase and this can leave the muscles of the body weak, the nerves tight and the fascia stiff. When muscles are weak, they don't support joints and we get pain. Once the acute phase of the disease has passed, ensuring your client maintains the stabiliser muscles of all their joints, will help to lower their pain. A joint which has strong muscles supporting it, will be aligned correctly and therefore be less prone to injuries. When a person is in pain, their muscles will often switch off and therefore it is essential these clients begin a gentle strengthening program as soon as they are able to after a flare up. Otherwise each subsequent flare up will leave them weaker and weaker, until it is not the disease, but rather the weakness that is hindering them and causing pain. If you have hands on skills you can use techniques such as Myofascial Release to help the fascia return to health and soft tissue release techniques such as trigger pointing to help rebalance the muscles. This will go a long way to improving the pain levels of these clients.


  • For CPD purposes, consider a client who has just returned to you following a fare up that left them immobile for 6 weeks, they now have ongoing pain in their knee. What might be causing this and what can you do about it? Write it all up in your CPD log.


Remember you can download your Reinge Education FREE CPD logbook here by subscribing to our website.


#chronicdisease #diabetes #rheumatoidarthritis #cpd #learning #trainer #therapist

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