Archive for October, 2011

Creaky, achy joints.  A twinge in the knee.  A sharp shooting pain from the shoulder to the elbow.  No big deal, right?  Wrong.  All too often, we assume joint pain is a normal part of aging that we just have to learn to live with.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  It is a serious problem and can affect every aspect of your life. What causes this? Well, the initial problem could have started with an injury from an accident or some sort of trauma.  Most cases involve postural imbalances developed over time causing the Cumulative Injury Cycle. Let’s talk a little biomechanics here first:

Arthrokinetic Dysfunction leads to altered joint motion.

Arthrokinematics refers to the motion of the joints.  Arthrokinetic dysfunction is a biomechanical and neuromuscular dysfunction leading to altered joint motion.  Altered joint motion causes altered length-tension relationships.  This affects the joint and causes poor movement efficiency. 

For example, externally rotating the feet when squatting forces the tibia and femur to also externally rotate.  This alters length-tension relationships of the muscles at the knee and hips, putting the gluteus maximus (prime mover) in a shortened position and decreasing its ability to generate force.  This causes the biceps femoris and piriformis (synergists) to become synergistically dominant, altering force-couple relationships (recruitment patterns), altering arthrokinematics (joint motions) and increase stress to the knees and low back.  Over time, this stress can lead to pain which can further alter muscle recruitment and joint mechanics. Herein, meniscus repair surgery.   Another example is a person sitting at a desk at work for days and years on end.  Over time their shoulders become rounded, the head protrudes forward and all the muscles of the upper thoracic region become short and stressed.  Neck pain develops.  With each and every overhead movement the rotator cuff tendons begin to fray.  Then, all of sudden, a few years down the road you are going to the orthopaedist for a shoulder problem.  The doc asked, “How did you hurt your shoulder?”  Your answer, I’m not sure.  It just became achy and would get better, then worse. This is in response to the Cumulative Injury Cycle.  The cycle begins with an injury or a postural related muscle imbalance.  The cycle is repetitive until you are on the operating table getting cut on.  Unless, of course, you make the decision to re-train the imbalances and focus on producing proper neuromuscular efficiency and solid biomechanical function.  I see alot of people out there doing the next best exercise.  Maybe they saw it in a magazine or on a video.  Possibly, watched a trainer have a client perform the exercise.  Just because something is good for one person, doesn’t mean it is good for another.  Your body is your own and everyone has a different dysfunction.  Working out and being active is good.  Working out with proper movement mechanics is great.  My suggestion would be to figure out your problem and then attack the imbalance.  In a future post, I will show you how to figure out the problem and give you ideas on how to correct it.