Affectionately known by Chiropractors as “rehab”, this stage of your care is specifically targeted at stopping your initial problem coming back and preventing future injuries from occurring. At Shifnal Chiropractic, we try to make sure that you have as much control over your own health as possible – if we can give you the tools to enable you to never have to visit a Chiropractor again, then we view that as a success!
But what is “rehab”? Well, in this case it has nothing whatsoever to do with recovering from addictions to alcohol or drugs! Physical Rehabilitation is the use of stretches, strengthening exercises and technique tutoring to aid you in recovering from whatever injury brought you to our clinic in the first place, and preventing other injuries from occurring in the future.
There are a few main tenets behind this practice.
- In order to maintain a stable spine, you must start from a position of strength. This means we will often spend a fair amount of time in the early stages working on your posture during various activities which you are engaged in during your day to day activities.
- If you are to maintain a position of strength, you need to have strength to maintain that position. Therefore, your Chiropractor will also be assessing your level of core strength, as well as the strength of any other muscles involved in your initial injury; they will also investigate any other areas they have identified as being placed at risk by your activities of daily living. On the basis of this evaluation, your Chiropractor will then begin to develop a specific exercise plan, individually targeting these areas of weakness.
- Flexibility – the key to movement! A seemingly obvious concept, but one that is overlooked. If your hamstrings down the back of your legs are so tight that you are unable to fully swing your leg forward, then your body is going to automatically find other ways to bring your leg forward. In the example of your hamstrings being tight, your body will often start to swing through your pelvis, rotating your lower back much more than normal in order to bring the whole leg further forward, allowing you a normal stride as you walk along. But if you are putting this additional rotation through your back every time you take step, then that’s a huge amount of additional stress for your spine to take, and hey presto low back pain starts to lurk, ready to pounce. So, any tension in the muscles will be addressed through the use of stretches and technique education to try and prevent scenarios such as the one described above.
The final stage of any successful rehabilitation course will naturally involve putting all these techniques and exercises together in a way that is meaningful to you in your day to day life. To start with, it will all seem extremely difficult, impossible to maintain without focussing all your attention on it and certainly of no relevance whatsoever to the pain you get when you are driving in your car or riding your horse. But the more you do it, the more instinctive it will become until you don’t even have to think about it – when you go to pick up that heavy box, you will automatically hold your posture correct, use those nice strong abdominal muscles you’ve worked so hard on and up it goes with no moment half way of “OUCH!”.
Initially the exercises your Chiropractor will be doing with you are purely based on specific areas of strength or flexibility. Once the basic strength is there, however, they will start substituting in a few exercises based around things you do every day. If you play a lot of golf, they may have you working on your swing against resistance, all the way keeping your posture absolutely correct. If you do a lot of work in the office, then the focus may be more on your seated posture, and learning how to stand up and sit down without endangering your low back.
In summary, Physical Rehabilitation is the long-term care aspect of Chiropractic, with the aim of you being able to take complete control of your current injury and prevent future injury through the use of exercises and stretching.