Body Therapies: Exercise Therapy

By | February 11, 2011

Never start an exercise program after an acute injury or during an acute flare up of a chronic injury. It may seem strange to begin a section on exercise therapy with a statement like that, but I am convinced that in any endeavor it is probably more important to know what you do not expect to accomplish as what you do. Physical activity and regular exercise are important parts of promoting and maintaining health. Properly done they will minimize the chances of and reduce the frequency of both back and neck pain attacks, but I know of no exercise program, which will treat an acute injury.

The benefits of an exercise program begin to appear after a period of weeks to months and accrue over a lifetime. With this in mind, it is clear that the regularity and duration of an exercise program are more important that the effort expended. In fact one of the primary causes of failure is to begin to quickly and to aggravate the injury, which you are trying to ameliorate.

Most people have a simplistic and erroneous view of what an exercise program should be by focusing only on strength. This is actually the least important part for most people. Patients who might benefit from an exercise program are usually deficient in four separate areas: flexibility, tone, endurance and strength and I would venture to say that they are important and should be developed in that order. While we sill make some recommendations about specific exercises in some of the following pages, I would caution you about trying to go it alone. Exercise should be fun! Statistics on fitness and exercise have shown over and over that success is much more likely in the context of an organized group or a class than by individuals working alone. Consulting with a trained professional and working with a group of people with similar problems and goals will greatly speed your progress and increase your overall chances for success.

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