Do I have to do my exercises for the rest of my life?

People often think, “Do I have to keep doing all of these exercises for the rest of my life?” after coming to therapy and performing weeks of exercises, getting hands on care from your therapist, then getting back to your pain free life.  This is a great question, and the answer is both yes and no.

Let me explain: If you are performing 10-20 minutes of exercises on a daily basis, there is no need to continue to perform this many exercises.  However, I have a question for you: Do you brush your teeth every day?  Why?    To prevent you from having cavities, would it make sense to perform a few exercises every day to prevent you from having your pain again?

After you complete your therapy there are most likely 2-3 exercises that you should be performing to keep your strength up and prevent you from having your problem return.  This should only take 5 minutes or so 2-3 days a week.  You want to keep the muscles that have a tendency to be weak strong to keep your pain away.


Dr. Christopher Aeschliman, PT, DPT

Chronic Pain

Today, I had another client come in today with lower back pain.  She told me she had sciatica symptoms.  She felt pain in her back initially however the pain that shoots down her legs is the most debilitating.  She feels like sometimes she can’t stand up all the way.  

Unfortunately for her, she’s been dealing with this for over half a decade.  The pain limits her from walking, standing long periods of time, and at this point she’s afraid to return to work as a nurse.  Nursing is a very active highly demanding physical job.  The fear is completely understandable and the fear is very rational.

Dealing with chronic pain can be life consuming, altering our lifestyles in ways that people without chronic pain do not realize.  I personally have had a ACL reconstruction on my R knee.  I went to months of prehab and even more months of rehab after surgery.  It still aggravates me to this day.  I realized that my knee hurt when I was walking for prolonged periods, or sitting for prolonged periods.  I never thought I’d be able to play soccer again so I would skip workouts.  I would avoid any activity that may cause pain.  I “knew” it would cause pain.

Recently, I came across an article on chronic pain and it helped enlighten my knowledge on the subject.  They found that the pain signal to the brain not only was coming from the source of pain BUT was also coming from memory.

Another article was showing how pain pathways from the source of pain may actually interfere with motor output.  This means that the pain is actually discoordinating muscles, which is going to lead to more pain.

Given these two thoughts, it makes sense why a client would need more than just strengthening to solve their problem.  The client needs solutions that address these other factors as well.  This is a common problem that needs to be addressed appropriately.

Dr. Mark Geise, PT, DPT

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