Importance of Home "Active Care"
The implementation of active home care during the treatment process is invaluable to not only patient recovery, but long term resolution of any musculoskeletal condition. A typical visit to the chiropractor is filled with numerous passive treatments/modalities including muscle stimulation, traction, manipulation, and soft tissue work. While these serve incredibly valuable to the overall treatment process, they are lacking one major component, MOVEMENT !!
The addition of corrective exercise or “active care” is essential in any clinicians treatment plan and offers several added benefits to the patient. Active home care can not only mitigate the “setbacks” that often occur during the treatment process, but also speed up recovery time, decrease the number of visits needed, and decrease risk for future injury by correcting the underlying cause of the pain.
Without consistent exercise and movement of our joints and muscles, we can start to lose joint mobility and strength. Mobility is defined as the ability of a joint to actively move through a range of motion. When the body lacks mobility in a joint or series of joints, it will compensate with increased mobility somewhere else and can lead to a multitude of issues. For example if our hips are not as mobile as they should be, our lumbar spine (low back) will compensate and start to move more than it was designed to. As the low back joints continue to move within this compromised position it can create increased muscle tension, and increased sensitivity in the joints causing pain.
Muscle strength and stability is also needed for a healthy and pain free joint. Lacking strength and stability in a region can cause tension to build in other areas of the body and create abnormal stressors and pain. Going back to the previous example, if the muscles around the hips lack strength, the low back can be forced to work more during everyday tasks eventually leading to tightness and pain.
It is important to remember that there is no universal exercise program for an injury. Exercises that may be therapeutic for one individual may aggravate pain in another even if the underlying injuries are the same. If you have been receiving treatment and have not been prescribed appropriate exercises, ask your doctor if they can create one for you during your next visit. Remember to consult your doctor or therapist before starting corrective exercises or active care. Get up, get moving, and get healthier !!