The World Health Organisation categorises a lack of physical activity as the forth leading cause of death. Physical activity or movement are different to exercise, which is planned, structured, repetitive and intentional (1). Rehabilitation is another word oft used to signify a return to fitness following injury.
In practicality think of movement like your diet – variety is key. There is no one activity that is best to keep you healthy. However, there may be a better rehabilitation approach if you have been obviously injured.
The BEAM trial showed at 12 months follow up the exercise group did not retain their improvements in pain relief whilst the chiropractic (SMT) group did (2). In a more recent study, results showed SMT to be better than rehabilitation (or stabilisation exercises) (3). Chiropractors incorporate SMT first into a Care Plan. Exercises are then used as their repetitive nature would suggest to reinforce a healthy status quo.
Exercises are sometimes given to hold changes in body strength and range of movement. Exercises are not seen as an obligatory part of a Care Plan, exercises are given as a complement to chiropractic physical interventions. And when a patient places particular importance on doing ‘exercises’ to get better. Rehabilitative exercise is part of Chiropractic undergraduate training so a Chiropractor is well versed to liaise with personal trainers, coaches, yoga instructors, sports medicine professionals and physical therapists.
(1) Gunmelt D. Physical Activity vs Exercise, What is the difference? American Council on Exercise June 3rd 2015.
(2) Underwood M et al. Back Exercise And Manipulation Randomised Trial of Physical Treatments for Back Pain in Primary Care. BMJ (2004) 329 1377
(3) Hough E, Stephenson R and Swift L. A comparison of Manual Therapy and Active Rehabilitation with reference to Psychosocial Factors. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders (2007) 8 106