The lives we live today require us to manage our busy schedules and building time into the day for a healthy lifestyle can be a real challenge. With the increase in technology, job requirements, and keeping up with our children’s agendas, we don’t always consider physical exercise to be a priority; however, musculoskeletal pain is more common now that it was 40 years ago. People generally suffer from a lack of physical activity, so we are more prone to developing muscular imbalances, decreased tissue extensibility, and motor control deficits, which can lead to low-back pain, knee/hip injuries, and other musculoskeletal dysfunctions. Because of this, the National Academy of Sports Medicine created a program called the Corrective Exercise Continuum that can be integrated in your exercise plans to improve and enhance one’s ability to complete functional tasks more effectively and efficiently. Corrective Exercise Specialists, like Dr. Royer, can help you recover and get back into the game.
Postural & Movement Assessments
Assessments are a key component in determining postural stability, movement efficiency and potential risks of injury. A person’s static posture is how a person presents themselves while sitting or standing and is the foundation from which a person will move. A person’s posture can help to identify muscle imbalances and can be an outstanding gauge of problem areas that need to be further assessed to clarify the puzzle at hand.
Transitional assessments are made involving movements without a change in one’s base of support while dynamic movement assessments involve movement with a change in one’s base of support. A change in one’s base of support would include walking or running while movements like squatting, pushing, pulling and balance involve no changes in the base of support. Both assessments are a key component in the Corrective Exercise Continuum to determine areas of dysfunction because these observations can show postural distortions and potential overactive and/or underactive muscles. These results will also assist in the development of a corrective exercise program that is designed based on each client’s specific needs. Not only will these assessments provide a better observation of one’s functional status, but it will also improve one’s performance and functionality overall. Other more complex movement assessments, such as the SFMA, can help your corrective exercise prescription.
Corrective Exercise Continuum
In corrective exercise, we use a systematic approach to find neuromusculoskeletal dysfunctions, develop a plan of action, and implement an integrated corrective strategy. There are four phases that are used to treat neuromuscular problems: inhibitory techniques, lengthening techniques, activation techniques, and integration techniques. Inhibitory techniques are used to release tension, break up myofascial adhesions and decrease activity of overactive tissues through myofascial release and Graston Technique. Lengthening techniques can increase mobility and range of motion through static and neuromuscular stretching. Activation techniques facilitates weakened or underactive muscles. Integration techniques re-educates muscle coordination by making synergistic muscles work together using functionally progressive movements.
It is important to keep in mind that although the body functions as a whole, each system must function properly independently in order to reach optimal movement. Impairment or injury rarely affects one system alone, which will often lead to compensations or adaptions of other movements in order to balance the weight distribution of the dysfunctional segment. Example: If pain is being experienced in the left hip, one may compensate a normal gait pattern by hip hiking the pelvis, which will create an asymmetrical stance. As a result, the entire body will shift in this altered position creating dysfunction not only in the left hip, but may also lead to issues in the foot, knee, back, and shoulder. In other words, any dysfunction in a chain of events producing synergistic movements will have direct effects on the rest of our system. Having optimal dynamic balance and postural alignment will provide optimal shock absorption, weight acceptance, and transfer of force during functional movement patterns.
What Types Of Corrective Exercises Should I Do?
The corrective exercises that you should do partially depends on your assessments and it depends on your goals. After the assessments are complete, your rehabilitation specialist will create a plan of care that is suited just you. This could include a variety of ROM exercises, diaphragmatic breathing, isometrics, strengthening exercises, dynamic movements, stretching and self-care techniques. As you improve, the exercises will progressively challenge your functional stability, mobility, strength, endurance and motor control. Ideally, you should be conservative when you start as you should start slowly and increase your repetitions as you progress.
Tips for Stretching
- Avoid stretching when you are cold. Stretching should be done after warming up the muscles with a light aerobic activity (like walking or jogging) or after a workout as part of the cool down.
- Don’t bounce but slowly increase the stretch as the muscle let go.
- You should feel tension or a pull, but it shouldn’t really hurt.
- Use your breath to increase the stretch. Inhale deeply to increase the tension in your body and release the tension and further the stretch as you exhale.
- Increase time or repetition as you become more flexible.
- If you feel severe pain, stop the stretch immediately.