Some patients will ask about the importance of an active lifestyle. You can be very helpful by encouraging them to increase their activity levels, especially if that starts in your office with an active therapy treatment plan. Your doctor will prescribe the treatment methods and their duration according to the patient’s symptoms and desired outcomes, but you can also play an active role in helping the patient work through their exercises. Here are a few starting points for your discussions with your doctor and patients.
The positive effect of exercise on general health has been well-studied. While we work with patients and watch them progress from hurting to healing, we know that spinal conditions tend to heal better when active care is combined with other forms of treatment, including regular spinal adjustments. Active care, like therapeutic exercises, involves active patient participation. You can support this by encouraging patients to find motivation from both external sources and internal drive.
Activity and Passivity
Donald Murphy, DC, CCSP, DACAN, proposes a continuum of therapies with varying degrees of activity or passivity. Progressing from the most passive to the most active treatment, we would identify bed rest as the most passive, progressing to medication, physical therapy modalities, traction, chiropractic adjustments, increased activities of daily living, exercise, and finally to broad-based fitness.
While chiropractic may not be as active as broad-based fitness, it does set the patient’s ability to tolerate active care in motion. Chiropractic is not passive care; it is activating care, allowing patients to progress to higher levels of activity. Not only are chiropractic adjustments useful in removing barriers to active care, but they also work well in combination with active care.
Active Care Progression
To facilitate the progression of a patient from passive to active care within a chiropractic practice, consider the use of the following paradigm of six progressive components of chiropractic rehabilitation:
- educating the patient about what caused his or her condition and how to prevent further injury
- adjustments, osseous, and soft tissue
- stretching tight muscles
- strengthening weak or inhibited muscles
- functional rehabilitation, which may include proprioceptive/balance training
- restoration or introduction of a broad-based fitness program
A phased progression of active therapy and care provides the doctor and patient with a clear plan of treatment for successfully reaching their goals. This model of chiropractic rehabilitation is inherently understandable and measurable. It also moves the patient’s function through increasingly better action.