Archive for the ‘joint dysfunction’ Category

Last week I discussed the reason for most joint pain.  The post entailed the Cumulative Injury Cycle with regard to the body’s reaction to pain management. To view this previous post, click on this link http://wp.me/pOgCs-9V .  This post explained that the body creates imbalances from a previous injury or a repetitive series of improper postures.  Through this, the biomechanics of the body is altered causing the Injury cycle.  Over time, the muscles neuromuscularly are not responding correctly causing defaults within the joint.  Then, as months and years progress, the joint itself wears and degenerates which causes more and more trips to the doctor.

One way to prevent this is to perform joint stabilization exercises to balance out the imbalances so that all muscles and joints are performing optimally. But first, one must figure out the imbalance and fix the problem.  A simple way that I use with my clients is the standard squat test.  In the pics you will see a weight shift to the right. I’ve used a dowel rod for a focal  point on the floor.  As I begin to squat you will see my body’s center line fall to the right.  This tells me that my glute on the right side is not firing to stabilize me. If not corrected, one or multiple joints surrounding could be altered and pain will soon arise.  Now you could go on for months with no pain.  Then, all of sudden, you may experience knee pain, back pain, shoulder pain, etc. There is a dysfunction and your body tries to compensate with other joints causing excessive use and more wear and tear.  You can do this simple test at home.  All you need is a stick, a golf club or even place some tape on the ground.  Have a friend or family member look at the results or take a picture.  Typically, if one shifts their body either way, the glute on that particular side is not working correctly.  Now, at times, the ankle joint could be the problem.  In this case,  I would also test the squat with the heels elevated with a small block.  This will take the ankle joint out of the equation and you will get a true reading.  I’ve had clients shift without the lift and then not shift with the lift.  This tells me the problem is with the flexibility in the calves.  Either way, this test should help you figure out at least one or possibly the main dysfunction.  If the problem is in the glute area, I recommend doing clam exercises with a mini-band, penguin walks, and/or side plank with the bottom knee bent focusing on the weakened glute muscle.  If you find the ankle joint to be the problem proper calf stretching and strengthening of the front compartment of the shin (anterior tibialis).  For now, I’d go to Youtube and locate the exercises.  In a later post, I will show you these exercises.  Check out the following pic and see if you can see the weight shift. Click on the pic to enhance the size.

With this next pic, the heels are lifted and you see that I am fairly balanced in my squat with more range of motion.  In the previous pics, my bodyweight shifted to right, plus I had limited flexibility and range of motion.  This tells me the problem begins with the ankle joint and the lack of flexibility in the calves.  Being that I stand all day long training clients, this would be a reasonable assumption.

 

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.