It turns out you don't because all exercise and movement can be "corrective".
This phrase has been dragged through the mud and marketed like crazy to the point where there are actual certifications for Corrective Exercise Specialists. I know because I am one apparently (thanks NASM!).
What does corrective work usually entail? Generally light bodyweight work, some stretches and mobility movements, and you can't forget some isolated banded exercises.
But are these special exercises any better than typical training movements, our squats, hinges, pushes, and pulls? Not at all.
For example, doing rotator cuff exercises doesn't make your shoulder any more bulletproof than just doing any progressive shoulder exercises. Your rotator cuff works during chest presses and rows just like it does during isolated external rotation movements. (You could argue it's less efficient to train this way).
The same goes for lower back pain as the prescription here is often to strengthen the "core". Building trunk stability has been shown to alleviate back pain but so does any other movement really, even walking.
So in other words, we don't really know why certain things work, we just know that they do help. And the best we can infer right now is that any tolerable movement can help alleviate pain. There are no magic exercises. There are no secret programs that do it better than any other.
Here's what you should focus on instead when rehabilitating an injury or any place of pain:
Choose movements and exercises that feel good, don't exacerbate your symptoms, and that you can comfortably progress
Choose movements that you ENJOY!
Most people don't even consider the second point but think of it this way. If you have the greatest exercise program in the world, will it mean anything if you don't adhere to it?
Our pursuit of what's optimal can get us doing things we don't enjoy because we think they're some silver bullets or secret exercises they don't want you to know about. And the result is that we drop off in our consistency and don't see the desired result.
This doesn't mean these corrective movements don't work, as I said in the beginning all types of movements can work to rehabilitate. But if it doesn't have a chance to work because we stop doing it, then what use does it have to us?
Traditional physiotherapy shows its weakness in situations like this, with cookie-cutter plans given out to clients in pain regardless of their individual situation. Glute bridges may help one person's hip pain and exacerbate another's.
Some trial and error and reliance on the expertise of the right coaching can help guide a healthcare professional to the right course of action. But the same principles apply, find a suitable entry point that you can gradually and progressively expose yourself to, and build from there.
To your good health,
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