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Matt Hardy

A client case study – post operative rehabilitation

Welcome back! Heres a case study of a client who I’m currently working with

Who was the client?

A man in his mid twenties

Why did they come to see me?

5 years previous, whilst lifting weights in the gym, he had injured a rib cartilage. He had worked with several physios but they were unable to get him to a point where he was pain free and able to get back into the gym. He had a surgical repair of the cartilage 6 months prior to seeing me. He had moved to the area to take up a new job and came to see me to assist with his rehab back to the gym.

How long did we work together?

We have been working together for 2 months and we are still working together

What did we do/are we doing?

The first stage of treatment concentrated around his breathing pattern and his thoracic spine mobility. Due to having a problem with his rib cage for a few years he had developed a dysfunctional breathing pattern. He wasn’t using his diaphragm well and was mainly breathing through the upper parts of his lungs. Due to this he was getting a stiff back and short of breath when pushing himself. We achieved this with breathing exercises and exercises to increase his thoracic range of movement. We gave him 3 weeks to work on this before seeing him again.

At the next session we were seeing some improvement in his breathing and thoracic movement. We had a session of soft tissue release and thoracic mobilisation to facilitate a little bit more movement in his spine and started him with some shoulder stabilising exercises as his left shoulder was weak.

Following 2 more weeks of doing these exercises he came back. His pain was settling and he was feeling more confident about his recovery. His breathing was improving every week and he felt confident to push himself to the next level.

At this point we started him off with a very simple gym programme to increase strength and power in his arms and chest. This involved dumbbell bench presses with his elbows tucked in, bent over rows and cable flys and rotations.

The last session that we had 2 weeks ago (of writing this)

he was progressing well but has unfortunately not been able to access the gym during lockdown so we adapted the exercises for home with the weights that he had

What can we learn from this?

Our breathing pattern is an integral part of our musculoskeletal system. It can negatively effect how we move and our athletic/physical abilities. This should never be over looked.

If this has encouraged you to give rehab a chance, please feel free to call or email me. You can also book online via the links on the site.

Thanks again for reading


Hardy Performance Physiotherapy is a private physiotherapy service that offers high quality rehabilitation for acute and long term conditions, based in Warwick and Southam, Warwickshire.