Studies show that chiropractic adjustments work best and are most effective when done in conjunction with exercise training. These “Active Chiropractic Care Plans” require that the patient also perform specific home exercises between adjustments. These exercises are determined and supervised by the doctor and are meant to not only restore function quicker, but more importantly, help the patient be less afraid of activity, gain confidence that they will be okay, and in the end improve the quality of daily life much sooner than with chiropractic adjustments alone.
The days of bed rest and “taking it easy” are over, and only tend to make conditions worse. Of course, there are certain cases where a day or two of rest is necessary, but as soon as a person is able to start resuming his or her typical activities of daily living, and push through the pain all the better.
And here’s why: Current studies are showing that low back and neck pain are not simply short term, one time episodes, but are chronic conditions that have acute flare-ups throughout a person’s lifetime. This means that neck and low back pain should be considered analogous to conditions such as asthma or diabetes which can be managed as opposed to an acute disorder that can be cured. This makes it very important that patients have some way to self-manage their flare-ups. This pushes the goal of the treatment program away from simple pain relief and more toward reactivation and restoration of function. Ideally this combination of chiropractic and exercise treatment programs will get patients into a mind set of “pain management” as opposed to “pain avoidance”.
As seen in the diagram, fear of pain leads to activity avoidance, which leads to de-conditioning which leads to pain with activity, which… well, you can easily see the vicious cycle.
Chiropractic care with the correct exercise program helps patients play an active role in their treatment program and allows for a renewed sense of self reliance, and an ability to perform activities of daily living without undue fear or risk of injury. Ask your chiropractor if an “active care program” wouldn’t be right for you!