Everyone knows someone who suffers from recurrent musculoskeletal injuries; a healthy individual that just can't seem to shake the shin splints, sore and achy knee, or stiff back. These injuries are a common occurrence at home, work, and on the playing field and many wonder why some people just can't seem to avoid them.
Persistent musculoskeletal injuries are generally caused by biomechanical weaknesses. Hours of sitting at work, in class, or standing on a hard floor translate to a body that is losing its full range of motion. Other joints are forced to compensate for this loss, resulting in biomechanical weaknesses turned recurrent injuries. For example: stiffness in the mid-back, hips, and ankles often lead to shin splints, knee injuries, and low back pain.
This is the primary reason why chiropractors, and other physical medicine specialists recommend ongoing maintenance and prevention after the pain is gone. It is much easier and cheaper to keep the body working like it is supposed to rather then try to put out every fire as it comes along; so to speak.
Restoring motion is vital to avoiding persistent injuries; equally important is stabilization of the weak muscles that accompany loss of motion. It is the balance of stability and mobility that makes our movements efficient and lessens the possibility of injury. Often times due to specialization of professions there will be a disconnect between the mobility and stability treatments that need to occur at the same time. This is why often times patients often get little or no relief from strengthening alone or joint or soft tissue mobilization alone. Finding a specialist that does both is your best bet for a speedy and more permanent correction.
There are many things that you can do on your own to support correct function of you muscles and structure to minimize your chances of a recurrent injury. Stretch, go for walks often, and don't sit for more than two hours straight. Consult a biomechanical specialist prior to starting any rigorous exercise program to screen for and resolve potential injury causing weaknesses.
This is important because many people need to know where to start; mobility or stabilization. If you are too tight and you start to try to strengthen and stabilize you are setting other tissues away from the 'stuck' area up for failure. Like wise if you try to mobilize a already loose joint you are now asking for trouble at the involved area for tissue failure. So be sure to ask the right questions before you start treatment or an exercise program.
Matthew Wilson DC, CCWP
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