I usually introduce myself as a exercise-based chiropractor, but what does that really mean?
It doesn't mean all I do is teach or recommend exercise; I also perform soft tissue therapy, muscle release, joint mobilizations and of course, when required, manipulation (adjustments).
It also means I try to take it one step further. If you have been to my clinic in Newmarket, you probably have heard my speech about fixing function: if the way the body is working is defective, there's no way you are going to get rid of the pain.
I can use my hands to help take away symptoms, but what caused those symptoms in the first place? Likely a dysfunctional movement pattern.
How are we going to correct it? That's right, it's the E-word: Exercise!!
For many people, this may seem very intimidating. How many people do you know who have started an exercise program only to drop it because it was uncomfortable, or hard, or took too much time?
Well here's the good news: to restore the function it typically takes 5-10 minutes/day. How many of us can say we don't have 10 minutes a day to stop hurting all the time, especially if it makes other tasks easier (which also means you could do them faster!).
Okay, but you still think exercises are difficult, right? Now I don't want to claim that they're not — teaching your body to work again absolutely takes some effort, but most people are surprised at how simple and easy the exercises are.
For instance, to train the neck's deep neck flexors (great exercise for many people with neck pain) you lie on your back, tucking your chin in (like a double chin), then lift your head one inch off the ground (no higher!) then hold for up to 2 minutes. Not complicated at all, right? But the results from this simple training tool can be astounding.
You don't need to be “good” at exercise, or even like it to be able to do simple exercises, and once you've mastered them, it becomes easy and routine.
So don't let the word exercise fool you, it's simpler than you think!