Therapeutic Exercise and Chiropractic Treatment

Lower back and neck pain often are not short-term conditions, but rather are chronic conditions that flare up occasionally throughout the lifetime of a patient. Chronic conditions must be managed, as opposed to acute conditions that may be cured.

Generally, those receiving chiropractic care for chronic pain are encouraged to perform a reasonable amount of daily exercise — cardiovascular, strengthening, and aerobic — as a part of their treatment regimen.

Research Supporting Chiropractic and Fitness

Research has concluded that spinal manipulation is important for strengthening the lower back, managing acute and chronic pain, and for improving quality of life. When combined with exercise, collaborative treatment can have a variety of benefits, including:

  • Pain reduction
  • Headache management
  • Facilitating proper digestion
  • Achieving and keeping proper muscle tone
  • Promoting better circulation

A 2008 study that concentrated on spinal manipulation for chronic lower back pain found convincing supporting evidence that spinal manipulation works as well as a combination of medical treatment and exercise, and also reasonable evidence that spinal manipulation, performed in conjunction with strengthening exercises, was as effective as prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs used in combination with exercise.

According to data from the Scientific Commission on the Council on Chiropractic Guidelines and Practice Parameters (CCGPP), evidence suggests that exercise can be equally as effective as non-surgical treatments for lower back pain. Individually designed strength training or stabilizing programs were found to be particularly effective in pain management and helping overall functioning.

Exercise Instruction and Supervision

The effectiveness of chiropractic care may also be increased when performed in combination with an exercise program. In correlation with the right exercise program, it not only helps patients take a more active part in their care plan, but also helps them to become more self-reliant, and encourages them to perform the daily activities they love without undue fear or risk of injury. 

This type of “active chiropractic care plan” requires that patients do specific home exercises in conjunction with periodic chiropractic adjustments. A doctor of chiropractic will determine and supervise the exercises with the goal of not only restoring function but also helping patients gain confidence and become more comfortable with physical activity.

There are many types of exercises that our chiropractors may recommend to help patients deal with musculoskeletal or lower back pain, including:

  • Flexion-based exercises such as pulling knees into the chest, posterior pelvic tilts, and bending from a sitting position
  • Prone press-up type exercises for those with leg pain
  • Pelvic strengthening exercises to stabilize the trunk muscles
  • Hamstring and abductor stretches
  • Exercises that promote balance

Aerobic exercise for chiropractic patients does not have to involve an expensive gym membership or logging hours on a treadmill. How can you tell if your exercise is aerobic? A good guideline is that aerobic exercise will make you feel warm and a bit out of breath, enough so that it’s a little hard to carry on a conversation.

Taking a brisk walk, caring for children, or performing household chores can function extremely well as an effective exercise program. The point is to get moving!

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How Can Our Chiropractors Help You Meet Your Lifestyle Goals?

To learn more about how the combination of chiropractic care and fitness training can provide safe, non-invasive benefits for those with chronic pain, please contact us today to schedule an appointment, or pay a visit to any of our clinics located throughout the state of Virginia and in North Carolina.

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