When we move, we want our bodies to move with grace, precision and be as biomechanically efficient (to prevent wear and tear on the joints/muscles) as possible.
But how do we know if this actually happens? Would we feel pain and discomfort, or would something niggling be happening deep inside our muscles that we are not aware off? How many times have you had back ache, and it not really be your back? Or, shoulder pain and it’s actually your hip? If we had to think about it, neither makes any sense, until you understand what could be happening with your muscles.
Correct body biomechanics help the body stay injury free and can provide corrective techniques for optimal performance, whether that is a faster race time, a pain-free body or general health. A recent study of 4000 athletes demonstrated there were common patterns of movement which were linked to biomechanical problems with certain injuries.
The biomechanics that Experience Wellness offers looks at the body’s intrinsic biomechanics – how your body works inside. If injured the body will compensate for intrinsic biomechanical faults. This will be in everyday activities which can lead to compensatory movements. Our body tells us through aches and pain that we have compensatory patterns. We aim to help reduce the compensatory movements by correcting the cause, not merely working around the problem.
We use four screenings (tests) to biomechanically assess and then consider the results and give appropriate corrective exercises. If one of the four screens shows a positive (i.e., there is a dysfunction present) then the body will not function at is optimal level (no matter what that level is). Using the four tests we can ‘normalise’ the body, then progress to core stability.
EXAMPLES OF HOW THE BODY WORKS WITH A DYSFUNCTION:
One leg longer or shorter than the other – leg length discrepancy. I see this all too often in my clients, it is common but not normal. How can this happen?
One way could be due to how the pelvis is positioned. A normal, functional spine will sit on top of the pelvis at 90-degrees. If the pelvis is tilted backwards (posterior tilt) or forwards (anterior tilt), then that can make the leg longer or shorter depending on tilt position.
If the pelvis moves forward or backwards, there is a corresponding movement in the back. If the spine does not compensate for the tilt of the pelvis the spine will have to move. This leads to increased pressure on the spine and surrounding muscles. To compensate, the spine curves to keep the head above the pelvis – knows as a scoliosis.
The facet joints (small projections of bone on the vertebrae) are moved closer together or further apart depending on how the pelvis has moved. This can cause pain if they rub or press together. If the spine does not compensate for the leg length discrepancy, the knee or foot can compensate instead.
Within the pelvis/hip area there is a muscle called piriformis. Its main job is to help turn the hip outwards (external rotation); if this muscle is in spasm (see below) it is to protect the pelvis. Symptoms are not always present and therefore you might not know you have a muscles that is in ‘subclinical spasm’. The spasm can keep the joint misaligned permanently if it is not identified or corrected.
The sciatica nerve can run through the piriformis muscle, so this muscles spasm can also cause tension in the sciatic nerve, which can cause tight hamstrings and may result in injury.
A muscle spasm is a gradual increase in muscle tone that builds up in a muscle that is protecting a vulnerable joint/area. If a muscle is in spasm for more that 6 months it becomes fibrotic (tough and does not stretch). UP to 40% of the muscle can become fibrotic. This means the muscle cannot relax properly. This leaves the joint it was supposed to stabilising vulnerable and the other muscles protecting the same joint are overworked.
So, how would you know if your muscles were tight (overactive) or in spam? Answer: you probably would not be able to tell the difference.
THE HIP BONE CONNECTED TO THE SHOULDER BONE…?
I can’t recall those exact words in the skeleton song, but they are connected! They are connected not only by bones but by fascia (the silvery thin skin on meat). Fascia covers all the body and all the muscles and nerves and with the hip and shoulder it runs diagonally from one side of the body the other. It has a chain of muscles and connecting fascia, and a dysfunction in one area can lead to another area being affected.
This is how: if your pelvis is tipped backwards and there is tension in the fascia, a band of muscle at the back of your neck can go into spasm, which is preventing proper function of the pelvis. Because they are linked the pelvis needs to be checked as any mal-alignment can actually result in shoulder pain.
The 4 simple screens can be performed to see what is happening with your body. Then we can help to put it right with corrective exercises. Simple and effective techniques that you can easily do at home to improve your function and form.
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