Do I really have to do the exercises 8 times today?
Movement Monday is back and this week, I’m answering a common question that I hear when I prescribe a certain exercise for getting rid of pain, improving mobility, and helping somebody regain their independence from a life of having to take pain pills just to get by. That question is “Do I really have to do an exercise 8x a day?” The simple answer is this, if I or your Chiropractor or Massage Therapist is able to get your pain or mobility to improve with their hands then you are what is known as a Rapid Responder. What does this mean? It means that your limitation, loss of independence, or mobility has a self-treatment option at its root.
Every improvement made in the clinic can be repeated at home!
How do I know this?
More often that not, my patients tell me so-They’ll say things like I feel better when I do this or I feel worse when I do that...Which, when you understand pain, this makes sense. Our bodies are incredibly durable so our pain is not about something being out of place or that you had things that somebody had to “break up” but rather your alarm system or nerves are extra sensitive to certain actions or behaviors. Read here, here, or here for more.
If you are somebody with let’s say, back pain who before you injured yourself could do just about anything you wanted from playing with the kids on the playground to 18 holes of golf to yoga or Pilates every day of the week but now have been told to rest and it’s been 6 weeks or longer and it still is not better. Now you notice that car rides are agony after 30 minutes, forget about
playing with the kids or going to the gym for fear you’ll just flare it up again. Maybe you’re at the office and those first few steps after getting up are miserable but...after a few steps, things loosen up and you can go a little bit before things go downhill again.
That’s great you say but why…
The video on the right is a great find from Dr. E at Modern Manual Therapy.
So...all that to say that if your sciatica, headache, or stiff back, neck, knee, or shoulder has better times and worse times or there things that you do that makes them worse then...
Yes, the exercise is making things better and the more often you do them, the better you'll feel.
Some will get away with 2-4 times a day(not forever) and some every 30 minutes(again, not forever)
But, isn't it just masking things if it is making things less sensitive?
Great question and it deserves a serious answer. This gets deep into the weeds of pain science but basically think about it like this. When you bend forward or sit down(if that's what's makes you worse) you are taking withdrawals out of your body's account. When you "overdraw" that account, you enter into stiffness or pain. Think of the exercise(that your physio and you discover makes you better) as making deposits into that same account. When I have a greater "balance", I'm able to move and do more. Eventually I make enough deposits that I can do the exercise less frequently(going from every hour to 2 hours or greater). Now I'm able to play with the kids, go to the gym, or be at work without making things worse(or at least, my "balance" is high enough that I don't pay for it.