Why Exercise Matters: 5 questions, 5 answers with RockTape Instructor Courtney Conley, DC
Why should exercise be one of the cornerstones of a successful care plan or rehab strategy? How do other providers approach this topic? What can we learn from each other to help our patients succeed? Over the next few weeks we want to gather insight from successful practitioners on why and how exercise matters.
This week we are excited to feature Dr. Conley, DC, who graduated Magna Cum Laude from the National University of Health Sciences with a Doctorate in Chiropractic in 2003. She also holds a B.S in Kinesiology and Exercise Science from the University of Maryland. Dr. Conley currently owns and operates Total Health Solutions in 2 locations Golden, Colorado and Lakewood, Colorado. She specializes in working with endurance athletes improving function and performance. She recently began doing virtual foot and gait consultations via www.gaithappens.com in order to help people across the globe improve their foot and gait mechanics.
WebExercises: What is the typical patient you see?
Dr. Conley: I specialize in foot and gait biomechanics. The majority of my patients are in search for solutions to their foot and lower limb pain. I work in Golden, Colorado and the athletes are plentiful, it is a very active community. We tend to see triathletes, and ultra-distance runners. We currently offer gait assessment through the Optogait system. This system also offers patients the ability to improve performance via biofeedback. I also recently launched www.gaithappens.com. This is a website for patients from around the globe to seek virtual consultation on their foot and gait biomechanics.
WebExercises: What are the top 3 conditions/dysfunctions that patients are seeking help for?
Dr. Conley: I typically don’t focus on the ‘diagnosis’ of the patient. The diagnosis is simply a label for their pain. It’s a symptom. We assess movement and gait; what is going on in their biomechanics that has failed or contributed to their ‘symptom’. With that being said, we were not designed to walk on man made surfaces with shoes on. As a result, the intrinsic musculature of the foot has become very inhibited. The integrity of the foot declines, and pain syndromes result. The most common conditions I see as result of poor foot dysfunction include plantar fasciitis, posterior tibialis tendonitis, metatarsalgia, Morton’s neuroma, and hallux valgus.
WebExercises: Why do you believe exercise is a critical component of your care?
Dr. Conley: Lack of movement will kill you. There are many studies correlating the inability to move with decreased quality of life as well as reduced life expectancy. Exercise is the cure. When pain occurs, our bodies adapt and we create different, compensated motor engrams. We start functioning differently in order to avoid pain. We create these new motor engrams. Now while they are beneﬁcial to us initially because they modify and decrease our pain, they are compensation patterns which will lead to bigger problems down the road. It is our job, as clinicians, to recognize these faulty movement patterns, and ﬁx them. And that is done through the proper application of corrective exercise.
WebExercises: Do you prescribe exercises patients can do at home? How important is that to achieve your desired outcomes?
Dr. Conley: Every day. I ﬁrmly believe that in order for a patient to achieve success, they must take their health into their own hands. They must take responsibility to improve the current state of their health. Exercise enables them to do that. I am conﬁdent in our treatments, however, unless we are able to reproduce ‘our treatments’ at home, the outcome will be poor. Humans like repetition. Our brains like repetition. Change occurs with repeated exposure to a stimulus. With every ofﬁce visit, we screen, assess the patient and treat accordingly. Based on these ﬁndings, the appropriate exercises are given to the patient as their ‘homework’ if you will. Their compliancy in grooving the neurological pathway to change these compensated motor engrams is crucial in the success of their treatment.
WebExercises: What is your advice for somebody that wants to start prescribing exercises? Any lessons you’ve learned that you want to share?
1.) 2-3 exercises max given to a patient at one time. We want compliancy. We need to focus on the speciﬁc exercises that are going to beneﬁt the patient the most after what we assessed that day.
2.) Patients must progress accordingly. The clinician needs to know when to PROgress and when to REgress the exercise based on how the patient is moving.
3.) If the clinician can’t do the exercise themselves, and they are the ones doing the demonstration for the patient, they need to pick another exercise.
4.) Patients love videos, explanations of what they are to be doing. It has been stated that the patient will only remember about 10% of what you have shown them, which is why WebExercises is a great tool to utilize for patient care. If they end up doing the exercise wrong, they might as well not do it.
Interested in joining the discussion? Do you have an approach to share or a story to tell? Email us your opinion to firstname.lastname@example.org. We love to hear from you! #WhyExerciseMatters