How Functional Exercise can help Reduce Back Pain

Hi Everyone,
There’s a lot of buzz out there about functional exercise on the fitness scene, but it’s really important to understand this valuable fitness concept. Today, Molly from Proactive Chiropractic was kind enough to share with us what functional exercise is all about. So, without further ado, take it away, Molly!


Chiropractors treat a variety of conditions, from chronic pain to sports rehabilitation therapy. However, many patients initially seek chiropractic care due to a common complaint; back pain. In fact, roughly 31 million Americans experience back pain at any given time, that’s nearly 10% of the population.

What Causes Back Pain?
“Back pain” is a common, though often vague description for a variety of conditions that cause pain or discomfort in the back. The back itself is made up of several bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, and muscles. Any of these can become damaged, inflamed, or otherwise compromised to the point of causing distress.

Common causes of back pain include repetitive strain Injuries such as work-related lifting, carrying, or other strenuous actions. Post traumatic injuries such as caused by an accident may also contribute. Further, the current office environment in the workplace, characterized by long hours spent sitting at a computer desk may also contribute to poor posture and circulation which are also contributing factors.

Some additional facts regarding back pain:
It is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
It is the second leading cause of workplace absence, after upper respiratory infections.
50% of working Americans report having back pain each year
Most cases of back pain are mechanical in nature. In other words, the underlying cause is not a serious condition such as infection or disease. These conditions are often the most responsive to treatment
The Agency for Health Care Research and Quality recommends that patients who experience recurring back pain choose the more conservative treatment options before surgery.
Back pain is responsible for at least $50 billion is healthcare costs each year. And that only includes easily identifiable healthcare costs. When factoring in additional expenses such as lost wages from workplace absences or over the counter treatments and therapy devices, the total costs associated with back pain are much higher.

Functional Exercises
Functional exercises differ from what you may think of when you imagine traditional exercise training. Functional exercises are meant to train and develop your muscles for normal, everyday activities such as you might experience at home, work, or school.

Functional exercise programs fit in well with the chiropractic approach to health. The goal of chiropractic adjustment is often aimed at aligning the body and creating a harmonious environment that is ideal for healing, rehabilitation, or continued well-being.
Functional exercise training likewise is intended to train and develop muscles and joints to work in tandem with one another. This is aimed at increasing strength and agility, developing core muscle strength, or improving balance.

The use of functional exercise programs is widespread and includes:
Rehabilitation of sports or traumatic injuries
Strength training for elderly patients
Combating the effects of work-related injuries and conditions
As an effective, low-impact course of exercise for patients who are inexperienced with exercise, or for those with special considerations such as limited mobility, or even pregnant women.

Chiropractic Care and Functional Exercise
Strong support exists for the role of exercise in the treatment of chronic or occupational back pain. In fact, according to the Scientific Commission of the Council on Chiropractic Guidelines and Parameters:
Exercise is at least as effective as other non-surgical treatment options for chronic lower back pain.
Occupational back pain has been shown to be alleviated or managed through the use of exercise programs in conjunction with chiropractic evaluation and adjustment.

Your chiropractor can help evaluate your back pain and recommend a course of treatment to manage or alleviate your pain. Functional exercise is not recommended for every patient or every condition, and the underlying cause of the condition will play a large role in the recommended treatment.

If you are experiencing back pain, or are interested in seeing if functional exercises may help you, contact us today to set up an appointment!

Thanks, Molly and Proactive Chiropractic for sharing with us today!
How do you incorporate functional exercise into your fitness routine?

Tell us in the comments below!

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