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There is an undeniable benefit to combining rehabilitation exercises with standard evidence-based chiropractic treatment.  However, as you know, this requires an expenditure of your most valuable asset- time. There are two essential principles to achieve the best clinical results with every patient while preserving your time.

  1. Pre-select the most appropriate exercise protocols SPECIFIC to each diagnosis
  2. Have SIMPLE ways incorporate exercises into your daily routine

Check out the following video to learn how to achieve both objectives while avoiding the most common pitfalls associated with exercise prescription.


Pre-Selecting Exercise Plans

The research is clear.  Patients benefit from movement… and we happen to be in the movement business.  There are specific repetitive movements, traumas, or postures that characteristically predispose our patients to tissue injury.  For example, truck drivers and lumbar disc pathology go together like peanut butter and jelly.  Regardless of your world-class adjustive techniques and passive modalities, patients still need at-home corrective exercises to combat the constant barrage of negative stressors. Fortunately, research provides the framework for exercise prescription to simplify selection of the best exercises per diagnosis.

Exercise prescription will improve the capacity of weakened tissue and strengthen the surrounding muscles to allow balanced joint motion.  Proper exercise prescription allows patients to recover more quickly and minimize the chance of future injury while continuing their daily habits, hobbies, or occupation.

Simple Success

Most patients can’t put everything on hold and stop working (or playing, or sleeping, or fill in the blank-ing) until their pain resolves. They don’t have exercise equipment at their home, nor do they have time or space at work to incorporate elaborate programs.  Similarly, athletes don’t particularly enjoy taking weeks off to heal. Exercise prescription should not be a significant disruptor in each individual’s day, instead, rehab exercises should compliment your patient’s lifestyle.  Exercises should be easy to perform and not require considerable time or space to complete. The more your exercises and stretches require space, weights, or specialized equipment, the less likely they will be performed. Cervical retraction exercises, for example, can be done anywhere without extra equipment or space.  And cervical retractions are typically appropriate for a multitude of conditions from Upper Crossed Syndrome through Cervical Stenosis.

The treatment of tendinopathy is another excellent example of this KISS principle. Understanding the etiology precedes choosing the solution.  Tendinopathy results from degeneration of the attachment of the tendon. Treatment, including exercises should be directed at generating a controlled inflammatory reaction to jump-start the healing process- not suppressing an already suppressed environment.  Eccentric exercises are well established and effective. Experts agree that patients do not generally need to stop their sport or job while adhering to these rehab exercises:

“This review has been unable to identify any evidence to support withdrawing athletes from sport when engaging in an eccentric exercise rehabilitation program in treating patella tendinopathy.” (1)

Exercise programs should be easy to prescribe and simple to perform.  Check out ChiroUp’s condition reference section to review current evidence-based, condition-specific protocols for more than 90 conditions.  Then relay those programs to your patients to improve compliance and outcomes.  Most importantly, feel free to modify and change your protocols with new and evolving information harnessed from published research, seminars, or colleagues.  ChiroUp simply stores your information to be accessible whenever you need it.  Save time and practice with confidence knowing that you are providing the best care for every patient, every time.


“ChiroUp saves me time with patients by speeding up my visits. I am spending more time treating patients and less digging in file folders looking for exercises or giving lengthy explanations about care, diagnosis, etc.  It has cut down my appointment times and allowed me to treat more patients in a day by streamlining and standardizing my treatments and processes.”

Matt Wilson DC

If you’re not using ChiroUp to automate your exercise prescription and patient education, click here to start your free trial today. Join more than 700 practicing providers and seven schools who are sharing best practices to help redefine the future of our profession!



  1. Saithna et al. Eccentric Exercise Protocols for Patella Tendinopathy: Should we Really be Withdrawing Athletes from Sport? A Systematic Review The Open Orthopaedics Journal, 2012, 6, (Suppl 3: M10) 553-557

About the Author

Dr. Brandon Steele

Dr. Brandon Steele


Dr. Steele began his career at The Central Institute for Human Performance. Dr. Steele has trained with experts including Pavel Kolar, Stuart McGill, Brett Winchester, and Clayton Skaggs. He has been certified in Motion Palpation, DNS, ART, and McKenzie Therapy. Dr. Steele lectures extensively on clinical excellence and evidence-based musculoskeletal management. He currently practices in Swansea, IL and serves on the executive board of the ICS.

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