The three aspects of conservative treatment of locomotor system disorders are advice, manipulation, and exercise. They constitute a continuum of care, which has as its goal the reassurance, reactivation, and return to your prior functional status. Advice begins with dispelling the myth that 'hurt equals harm'. We then promote the gradual resumption of activities as a way to prevent deconditioning and improve the nourishment to the painful tissues. Finally, specific activity modification advice regarding workstation ergonomics, sleep posture/pillows, bending/lifting/carrying, and pushing/pulling is given.
Exercise helps by restoring function in a variety of ways:
- It may overlap with manipulation as a catalyst to recovery.
- It may help stabilize the dysfunctional kinetic chain by grooving appropriate movement patterns such as in agonist-antagonist co-activation or in sensor motor training.
- It may help prevent recurrences by reconditioning functional patterns, which mimic the challenges faced by every one of you at home, work, and/or in playing sports.
It can sometimes even begin early in care particularly if a 'functional range' can be identified, which is both relatively painless and where motor control is appropriate. Exercises are prescribed which re-educate movement patterns that are responsible for biomechanical overload in your residence, occupation, and in your physical activities.
In summary, while relief of symptoms is always a reason health care consumers seek health care advice; modern scientific
evidence indicates that the cause of most pain is functional in nature. Manipulation and the manual therapies serve as a catalyst
to recovery, especially if a tissue, joint, or scar is determined to be interfering with function in a kinetic chain related to the pain
generator or activity intolerance. Functional sources of pain include decreased activity tolerance and decreased fitness, which
is why we emphasize helping our patients and clients increase their activity tolerance when suffering from acute and chronic
neuromusculoskeletal conditions, as well as teaching self-care skills for controlling and coping with recurrent injuries of the spine,
pelvis, extremities, and soft tissue of the body. In addition, focusing on increasing fitness as a rehabilitation and preventative tool,
and increasing performance capacity for all levels of athletes, including the 'occupational athlete'!