Everyone knows that exercise is an important part of staying healthy, but did you know that it is also an important part of healing? Watch our videos in the playlist below to learn some helpful exercises, or browse our articles to learn more about how exercise can be an important part of your recovery strategy, and help keep you healthy day-to-day.
Remember to consult with your chiropractor or healthcare provider before starting a new exercise routine. Performing exercises incorrectly or while you are still injured can make matters worse, so it’s important you only do the exercises approved by your healthcare provider, and within your own comfort zone!
Neck pain, whether caused by whiplash or other injury, is a serious condition that can lead to chronic headaches, lost time at work, and an overall reduction in quality of life. It is one of the leading reasons people seek out the help of a chiropractor.
But while many people react to neck pain by reducing their level of physical activity, research shows that exercise, when combined with chiropractic manipulation, may be the true key to recovery. A recently published review of studies on different treatments for neck pain reveals that in many instances, patients experienced the greatest pain relief when they combined chiropractic manipulation and mobilization with exercise.
A team of researchers from McMaster University in Canada, Northwestern Health Sciences University in Minnesota, and the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College reviewed the results of 17 controlled trials conducted between 1996 and 2009, each of which looked at different treatments for neck pain. Patients in the trials included those suffering from acute neck pain, chronic conditions, symptoms related to whiplash, cervicogenic headache, and those with degenerative conditions. The trials investigated the effectiveness of combining chiropractic manipulation with exercise, compared to the effectiveness of no treatment at all, manipulation alone, exercise alone, traditional cures (including medication and wearing neck collars), or other responses like surgery or electrotherapy.
The research showed that patients who underwent a combined treatment of manipulation, mobilization, and exercise experienced greater short- and long-term pain relief than those who received either no treatment or only one type or therapy. The combined approach was also more effective at reducing pain than traditional treatments. In addition, these patients reported greater improvement in quality of life, and greater satisfaction with their results.
In their analysis, the researchers suggest that while manipulation and mobilization has been shown effective for relief of neck pain, combining this treatment with certain exercises can result in a greater benefit for patients, especially over the long term. Though they note that more research will be needed to determine what specific types of exercise are most effective, they conclude that pairing exercise with chiropractic manipulation can provide significant benefits to patients who suffer from many different types of neck pain.
Miller J, Gross A, D’Sylva J, Burnie SJ, Goldsmith CH, Graham N, Haines T, Bronfort G, Hoving JL. Manual therapy and exercise for neck pain: A systematic review. Manual Therapy 15(2010) 334-354.
Two new studies have been published that examine the role of diet or exercise in headaches.
The first1 was a survey given to 112 migraine sufferers. The researchers found that 70% of migraine patients felt that diet played a role in their headaches, and the most common triggers of a headache attack were, 1) chocolate, 2) skipping a meal, and 3) alcohol.
The second study2 examined the role of aerobic exercise in tension-type headaches in seven women. The women maintained a daily headache and medication diary for two weeks pre- and post-intervention, as well as during a six-week aerobic exercise regimen. This class consisted of “10 to 15 minutes stationary and moving warm-up and stretches; 20 to 30 minutes of low-impact cardiovascular training, and 10 to 15 minutes of cool-down and stretching exercises.” The women attended the class three times a week.
Headache levels did not change for the women. However, there were significant reductions in medication usage, depression, and anxiety. “…clients may turn to exercise in lieu of analgesic medications to manage their headache pain. With respect to decreased anxiety and depression levels, it is possible that engaging in aerobic exercise may improve mood which may alleviate some of the distress caused by chronic headache, and thus improve the quality of these patients’ lives.”
- Ciervo CA, Gallagher RM, Mueller L, Perrino D. The role of diet in treated migraine patients. Headache Quarterly, Current Treatment and Reseach 1996;7(4):319-323.
- Peters ML, Turner SM, Blanchard EB. The effects of aerobic exercise on chronic tension-type headache. Headache Quarterly, Current Treatment and Reseach 1996;7(4):330-334.
Weight lifting can be beneficial to your back if carried out correctly. Safe training can help with pain prevention and post-injury rehabilitation. Ensure that your workout is free of muscle pain and injuries by following basic safety measures.
A good warm-up is the first step to a safe workout. Stretch your muscles and increase your body temperature prior to any weight lifting routine, because cold muscles are more prone to injury. Without warming up before training, it is easy to exacerbate an existing injury or cause a new one.
Find a qualified trainer to show you how to use the equipment properly. Misuse of weights and improper posture can cause major stress to the body, so ask your trainer about proper positioning to protect the back.
Start slowly and build your strength up progressively. In the beginning, focus on lighter weights, slowly building up to something a little heavier. Increase your workout time only when you’re physically strong enough to do so. It’s best not to push too hard when starting out with weights.
Working closely with a trainer and your chiropractor will ensure that your weight lifting routine provides the greatest overall benefit to your heal
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