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Those Exercises

We give you that homework for your benefit, not ours

“I don’t feel like doing my exercises.”

woman neck stretchThis is, of course, a reference to those exercises we may have prescribed for you to do at home as part of your treatment program. Be honest – odds are there have been times when you were not exactly motivated to do them.

And we understand. It can be tiresome and challenging to commit time on a daily basis to carry out what can be an uncomfortable and boring activity. It may be that traction exercise that leaves you staring at the ceiling for 20 minutes at a time, or that muscle-toning exercise for your posture that has you counting up to 50 or 100 reps.

But as we would have said to you, there is a very good reason why we have added this task to your busy schedule. We want to help you achieve your spinal health goal as quickly and as effectively as possible.

We do what we can during your visits with us, but it’s what you do between visits that have as much impact on your progress.

You are constantly beating up your spine

Let’s recap the basics:

As we have written before, spinal problems arise from two primary causes. First, there are injuries, such as from a fall, sports or an auto accident. Then there are lifestyle habits.

Most of our patients fall into the latter category – they spend too much time at a desk job, hunched over their gadgets, or engaged in whatever other activity throws their back and neck out of proper alignment and leads to issues such as forward head tilt.

Most of us have trouble reforming these habits. That’s why we prescribe those at-home exercises at our Kanata Chiropractic clinic – they help to counteract the continued stresses your daily activities place on your spine.

Helping you help yourself

An acquaintance of Dr. Paradis’ is a pharmaceutical rep. One product she represented was a drug for heartburn. She would meet with medical doctors and provide them with a pamphlet of home recommendations that could be given to patients to help them relieve their symptoms without medication.

One MD laughed and said, “Do you realize that if my patients actually did these things they wouldn’t need your medication?”

That anecdote just reinforces our key point – what you do between visits with us is vitally important. Whether it is from us, an MD, a physiotherapist, any exercise you are given to do at home is crucial to your progress.

We are indeed trying to help you help yourself so that your spine is, and remains, in good health. If that sounds like we are trying to ensure that you don’t need us, you’re right.

Don’t be fooled by vanishing symptoms

There is another aspect of this that’s important to consider. Many patients are inclined to decrease their exercises when they feel any noticeable relief as a result of treatment. If pain or other discomfort was a key symptom, they find it all too easy to skip appointments or neglect those at-home exercises when they start to feel better.

But as we have said before, pain (or stiffness, or lost mobility or bladder control issues etc.) is only a symptom. Symptoms come and go. A severe symptom could only indicate a minor problem. Conversely, a severe problem may have few if any symptoms at all.

In other words, a symptom alone cannot be trusted as a measurement of your progress and need for continued treatment.

So yes, it’s only in your best interest to continue doing that exercise.

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