Chiropractic physicians are playing an important part in today’s health care picture. Calls from the past and present for research and scientific justification of our methods have been answered by both chiropractic and medical researchers, particularly over the past five years.
Our responsibility must not stop here, however, and we must continually seek to improve our skills, both as practitioners and as a profession. We must adopt many of the principles in the general field known as “physical medicine” to add to our repertoire of treatment methods. The major approach of physiatry and other physical medicine disciplines is therapeutic exercise. If these principles are added to the empirical and anecdotal knowledge that is contained in the general practice of chiropractic health care, then a truly stronger concept of combined treatment will emerge.
The value of exercise prescription cannot be ignored in cases such as motor vehicle accidents, personal injury cases, and work-related injuries. These same principles of strengthening and rehabilitation apply to patients with difficulties not related to the above injuries. Chronic problems such as degenerative joint disease, myofascial pain syndromes, and other conditions respond well to a prescribed, partially monitored exercise program; the only limitations are physical ability and patient compliance.
Individual medical professions differ somewhat in their approach to musculoskeletal injuries in a variety of areas. However, with exercise prescription, everyone basically goes by the same rules. Physiatry and physical therapy use essentially the same methods as chiropractic and osteopathy, though the latter two have not used exercise as the first or second treatment of choice, as have the former two.