Over the years, my studies in exercise science and experience as a fitness instructor and personal trainer have taught me how to evaluate different movements and find flaws or weaknesses leading to less than optimal performance. I’ve been able to take these skills from an exercise based setting and use them to diagnose and treat my patients based on the weaknesses or imbalances are present and may be contributing to their pain. In most exercises and daily activities, there are two key components that will influence a person’s ability to perform: mobility and stability.
Mobility and stability are two of the most important factors in recovering from and preventing injury. Too little or too much movement and a lack of stability in the muscles and joints can lead to stiffness, dysfunction, and degenerative changes. These factors can increase our risk of injury.
A strong and balanced core is key to creating a stable system for weight bearing and movement. In our bodies, the core muscles are what provide this foundation to support every twist, turn, bend, and reach we subject our bodies to every day. As such, building a strong core is incredibly important for injury prevention, but it is often approached with the wrong mindset.
People commonly think that having a strong core means having “six pack abs”, but in reality that is only a single muscle group. Performing 1000 sit ups every day will not create the functional strength you need to support your body through the stresses of everyday movement. The nature of a traditional sit up you puts your spine and pelvis at risk for injury.
Rather than thinking of our core as a wall, like the six pack idea promotes, we need to think of our core as a cylinder. Strong muscles in the back, sides, and front will create stable framework to support and protect our joints through all directions of movement. Without that foundation, even the most seemingly insignificant movement can lead to extreme pain because of the lack of protective support.
Mobility is also essential to proper function and pain prevention. Lack of motion at one joint often leads to compensation, or increased movement, of the one next to it. This imbalance can lead to degenerative changes, injury, and pain. Promoting equal movement between joints and balanced strength and tone of the muscles can improve the way you feel and move as a whole.
Everybody lives differently. What you do, how you do it, and where you do it will determine how your body performs and where there are any weaknesses or imbalances. Assessing these things in addition to your symptoms helps us treat the symptoms, but also the root cause which can prevent further injury.
In our office we can provide you with a comprehensive and individualized treatment plan which includes treatments that decrease pain, improve mobility, and relax muscles. Then, we complement those treatments with exercises specific to your needs to keep you moving forward on the path to recovery and prevent future injury.
Written by: Kelsey Heston, DC