If you are suffering from back pain, you may have seen a number of different kinds of treatment online: spinal decompression, adjustments, and different forms of therapy are all commonly used to treat chronic pain.
At iChiropractic, we offer exercise therapy to clients looking to gain strength and reduce pain-related symptoms. Exercise therapy isn’t as commonly known or studied as physical therapy, so you may be asking yourself: what exactly is exercise therapy? What does it entail? How can it be used in a chiropractor’s office?
This post will answer all those questions, and hopefully help you determine whether or not this type of treatment is right for your symptoms.
What Does Exercise Therapy Entail?
Exercise therapy (sometimes called exercise physiology) is a series of movements or physical activities that are designed to bring therapeutic affects to victims. Exercises may be picked for the following outcomes:
- Restoring musculoskeletal function
- Reducing pain around the area of an injury
Patients who attend exercise therapy may see a therapist once a month, once a week, or have more frequent visits for more pressing injuries or symptoms.
You do not have to suffer a significant injury to attend exercise therapy. It can be used to treat back pain that you may be experiencing from a pinched nerve, a herniated disc, or other conditions that worsen over time.
Differences between Exercise Therapy and Physical Therapy
Exercise therapy is often confused with physical therapy. The two are similar treatments that use repetitive physical movements for desired affects. However, they look at the body differently, and are used for different types of conditions and symptoms.
Physical therapy is used to restore movement and range of motion in the body so it can perform certain functions, whereas exercise therapy tends to focus on reducing pain and helping people to regain strength.
For example, a patient may go to a physical therapist after a shoulder injury that restricts their ability to reach their arm above their head. In contrast, someone might go to an exercise therapist due to a shoulder injury that causes great pain in their upper back. The goals of a physical therapist are more specific, and may sound like “regain the ability to run” or “regain the range of motion necessary to climb stairs.” The goals of an exercise therapist, however, focus on symptoms, and may sound like “reduce pain in the lower back” or “restore strength throughout injured leg.”
Exercise therapy is also used to treat overall health concerns. This form of therapy is sometimes recommended to patients who have diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular diseases, or who suffer from obesity. The repetitive movements are designed to burn more calories than the movements typically used in physical therapy. Because of this, it is a more effective therapy for anyone looking to lose weight or focus on holistic health.
While both treatments focus on repetitive motions (which encourages muscle memory and neuroplasticity), exercise therapy typically involves exercises that are more intense. Since the treatments are not focused on regaining motion, therapists will be able to use the patient’s full range of motion and push the client more. Of course, all exercises will be tailored to the individual needs and abilities of the patient.
What Happens During An Exercise Therapy Session?
Before you start sweating and moving, you will attend a consultation with an exercise therapist. The consultation will give you an opportunity to voice your concerns and talk to your therapist about your symptoms, injuries, and any past physical history that will affect your ability to participate in exercise therapy.
After your consultation, an exercise therapist will put together a series of exercises for you that are designed to help you reach your desired goals. At your first session, you will begin to learn a few exercises, which will be repeated throughout your exercise therapy session.
Exercises may include, but are not limited to:
- Static or dynamic stretching
- Repeated use of free weights/exercise bands
- Cross training
- Treadmill exercises
Often, the therapist will recommend a similar or shortened version of the exercises performed during a therapy session for a daily exercise routine. The therapist may also recommend other types of exercise that will help to relieve symptoms, including swimming, yoga, or weight training.
At iChiropractic, we offer holistic treatments for pain and injury that affects the spinal cord and surrounding areas. We believe that exercise therapy can help reduce physical pain throughout your body, either as a standalone form of treatment, or in conjunction with other chiropractic services used for aligning the spine and relieving pain.
About the Author:
Dr. Marc Browner is the Founder of iChiropractic and Wellness in Naples, Florida. A graduate of the University of Florida in 1991, he earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life Chiropractic in 1995. In private practice since 1998, Dr. Browner is a member of the Florida Chiropractic Society, the Florida Chiropractic Association, and he attends continuing education seminars, classes, and workshops to remain abreast of the