The difference between a fitness-based exercise program and physical therapy exercises to treat spine pain.

There are lots of different workouts and core exercises for back exercises, and I think it’s really confusing for the customer about what is the correct approach for them.   I typically have patients who have previously tried a back exercise program, only to have more pain and more disability as a result.  This is an extremely frustrating experience for them because “they tried and it didn’t work.”

 

It is likely a mismatch of the type of exercise that leads to a bad outcome, and thus a frustrating experience for the customer.   This comes from a great deal of pop culture ideas of what helps with low back pain, and what a fitness exercise should  focus on to strengthen your core for performance.   Most people may think that these two types of exercises are the same product, but rather they are two different types of exercise with two very different types of goals.

 

Spine exercises are geared towards having you be able to function and live your life without pain, whereas fitness based exercises are focusing on losing weight and improving sports specific performance.  The purpose of the Spine Exercises are to get you to be able to perform a fitness based program.

 

Even though, some specific back conditions do not do well with fitness based exercises.  For example, if you have a lumbar instability, you are not going to do well with Roman chair, some Pilates exercises, and some yoga exercises.  If you have a sacroiliac joint problem, deep squats, step ups, stair master, leg press, and some yoga poses will increase your pain.

 

For example, here is a perfect example of fitness/performance exercise that is a terrible exercise if you have neck pain.  Now, I understand that some of these exercises are geared towards reducing the risk of concussions, and there is a little context on this point,  but the end range positions are really hard on joints.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_OclIpaEcg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wYw0u0OMeE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKFvAhzxzCM

 

Many of our physical therapy exercises can seem unsatisfying at first because the muscles that actually help with pain that support the joints don’t produce much, if any, lactic acid.  As a result, there is no burning muscle pain that many people in the fitness industry expect.  You’re just not getting that kind of feedback.  It is good to keep in mind, our initial exercises are control-based and endurance based, rather than power based.

 

You’re not going to rock some sweet abs with physical therapy exercises.  Our exercises are meant to be effective at reducing pain and easy to perform.  None of our back exercises should hurt during or after they are performed.  Our exercises do not require expensive equipment that you need to purchase.   The bottom line is that they work.

 

Metropolitan Physical Therapy has proven, superior outcomes for neck and low back pain treatments (above 90% percentile for the last 6 months), and a 97% satisfaction rate from our patients, so you can have the peace of mind that we can help you reach your goals of decreased spine pain.  As we said previously, we got your back!