Do you ever wonder what exercise you should do to enhance your health? There are several factors that come into play when you have to decide on whether you should ride a stationary bike or walk on the treadmill. Jeremy W. Przybylo gives good insight on such in the article, below.
As a physical therapist I am often asked the question, “should I use an exercise bike, or a treadmill for cardiovascular exercise?” The answer depends upon several factors. In physical therapy (PT), we often analyze a patient’s gait or walking pattern. Observing an individual’s gait gives us a general idea as to where a patient’s weakness or deficit may lie. I often use a bottom up approach where I observe the feet and ankles, and work my way up the body as I observe their gait pattern. I also observe how an individual sits during an examination. Hip or spinal related conditions may result in altered sitting posture. Here at Prairie Spine and Pain Institute, we primarily deal with the spine. This includes your cervical spine (neck), thoracic spine (middle back), lumbar spine (low back), and the sacroiliac joint (the hip and tail bone region) or SI joint as it is referred to. We see and treat a variety of age related spinal conditions as well as traumatic spine injuries.
Cardiovascular (CV) exercise can be an important part of the physical therapy process, however, we need to identify what form of CV exercise is right for your spine condition. As I mentioned above, the answer may depend on several factors. For the sake of this article we are going to keep things relatively simple. If you have been diagnosed with spinal stenosis or facet related osteoarthritis, you may notice that sitting is more comfortable. If you think you’re able to sit with relatively good posture, then a stationary bike may be better for your diagnosis. This position will potentially reduce stress on the facet joints of your spine and open up the canals where your nerves exit, making it more comfortable to exercise. On the other hand, if you’ve been diagnosed with disc related back pain, neck pain, or neck related headaches, walking on a treadmill might be a better choice. Traditionally, the seated position tends to place added stress on the lumbar discs, therefore utilizing a treadmill may be better suited for your condition. Likewise, we tend to see neck pain and headaches due to prolonged sitting at work or on the computer at home. Walking on a treadmill may help to reverse some of the side effects of prolonged sitting.
As always, if you are dealing with any joint related pain throughout your body, it’s best to get advice from your medical doctor or physical therapist. If you are interested in learning more about what exercises are best suited to your joint related problems, please contact us at Prairie Spine and Pain Institute and visit our website at prairiespine.com. Our residency trained doctor of physical therapy has 10 years of experience working with general orthopedic and spine related conditions.
About The Author: Jeremy W. Przybylo, PT, DPT, DMT is the Prairie Spine and Pain Institute’s lead physical therapist. He is a key component of our integrated care program. Jeremy works one-on-one with patients to perform an initial evaluation that allows him to design a comprehensive treatment program tailored to each individual. He typically works with patients weekly, utilizing a combination of hands on manual therapeutic techniques and a scientific approach to rehabilitative exercise.