Clinicians of all disciplines can agree that exercise is medicine; to be well, you must move well. Breaking from the myth of “glorified back-crackers,” chiropractors have embraced rehabilitative exercise as an integral part of their everyday routine with their patients.
A pioneer in this ‘movement movement’ is Dr. Jeffrey Tucker, a chiropractor based in Los Angeles. He approaches his patients’ care with a multifaceted toolbox full of assorted modalities that aren’t just effective; they’re incredibly ‘POLITE.’
Dr. Tucker’s POLITE Method
P – Plan: Protect, Posture, Pain Relief, Prevention
“All of those things are important to me, but I find that the four most important words that patients want to hear from me is, ‘I have a plan,’” said Tucker. “So after I’ve done my examination, I can sit down with that patient and say ‘here’s my plan.’ I write it out for my patients so they understand what to expect.”
O – Optimal Loading
“It’s really important not to overload muscles or joints and, at the same time, don’t under load them,” said Tucker. “So I use equipment like the TheraBand CLX bands or bodyweight exercises. Sometimes I use sandbags, kettle bells or free weights to get that proper load so that I’m not aggravating the condition, but at the same time I am optimally loading their muscles and joints for recovery.”
I – Ice/Heat, Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization
When it comes to ice, “It could be ice packs. It could be Biofreeze,” said Tucker. “It could also be my reminder for using instruments. I use a lot of different types of instruments in my office. That can include the different Graston tools or the instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) techniques.”
T – Technology
“I have a lot of technology in my office,” said Tucker. “I embrace shockwave devices. I embrace laser. I embrace lymphatic drainage devices, the SCENAR device. I think it’s important that we embrace technology that will help control our patients’ pain whether it’s acute or chronic.”
E – Eating, Exercise, Ergonomics
“I think ergonomics is hugely under discussed with our patients,” said Tucker. “Proper sitting, standing, all of these things that would come under ergonomics: their chair, their desk height, whether they need a sit-to-stand desk, and whether they have a proper computer keyboard.”
Capitalize on Each Chiropractic Appointment with Exercise
Tucker spends a lot of time focusing on the “E” in his method through the prescription of rehabilitative exercises. Every patient that walks into his clinic is guaranteed to get at least one exercise so that they can own their own healing experience.
“I made exercise a priority, that every patient would get them,” said Tucker. “So now it’s on me to share that with them. For example, we’ll use a squat assessment; if their knees are going in when they squat down, I can show them what they’re doing wrong… and then the next question they have is, ‘how do I fix it.”
At this point, Tucker teaches the patient that adjustments alone cannot fix every problem; it’s up to them to participate in their therapy. Keeping patients engaged and invested, however, can be a challenge. To ensure exercise program compliance, Tucker follows two essential rules:
- Consistently prescribing new exercises will ensure that the patient never gets bored with their exercise routine.
- Building the program around products that are portable and easy to use anywhere will give your patients no excuses to miss a workout.
The versatility of the TheraBand CLX allows Tucker to easy adhere to both of these standards. He has modified a handful of traditional exercises, as well as innovatived a number of new exercises that patients can easily replicate in and out of his clinic. In Tucker’s 23 exercise series, he shares his favorite exercises to integrate into his patients preventive and therapeutic routines. Access the full series below and take notes; you are learning from the master, after all!
If you’re interested in learning more about how to integrate rehabilitative concepts into your chiropractic clinic, check out the three-day Performance Health Rehab Specialist Certification course; see the full curriculum here!