In my previous post, I wrote about Joint Mobilizations and how great the course was. It reminded me of the important of what lies beneath the musculature. It is an essential tool for helping to determine why the muscles tighten in the first place. It is important that we look past just releasing the muscles to find underlying causes to help to good prevention strategies.
To review, a joint is the point where a moving bone attaches to another bone. Good examples of this are the shoulder joint, where the arm bone attaches to the outside of the shoulder blade, the hip joint where the leg bone attaches to the pelvic and the spine, which consists of 31 vertebral bones stacked on top of each other with a gelatinous disc between each. Whether it is a wrist/ elbow/ shoulder joint or a hip//knee/ankle joint or spinal joint, where is an inherent about of motion for each. We have evolved to a place where each joint in our body must move a certain amount. If that motion is limited the effect can be muscles being overworked or weakened, nerves may be compressed, tendons may be impinged resulting in reduced range of motion and/or pain.
As a result of the above, one of my primary treatment philosophies have evolved into simply assisting the joints in the body to achieve their full range of motion. That makes a body happy. If you have a sore shoulder, I look at reducing your symptoms but also determine if any of the joints in the shoulder complex are not functioning to their full capacity. The bones that move in the shoulder complex include the upper arm bone, the shoulder blade, the collar bone and the ribs surrounding the shoulder blade the upper 3 vertebrae of the midback. All of these must be functioning to assure that the shoulder can move fully and freely. This can apply to any joint from the feet to the top of the head. I have found that most of my success in treating pain, weakness, overworked muscles, nerve compressions come from just allowing the body to do what it can’t. Once it can do this, then it’s capacity to heal improves dramatically. Any correction of a joint done in a treatment will tend to last for a while but exercises are also given to maintain and improve the effects from the treatment. It’s the importance of including the patient in the treatment so they understand why the symptoms are occurring and empowers them to be part of their success.
With improving the function of the spine, I have found my greatest success is using a more Osteopathic approach. Without the surrounding soft tissue (muscles/ ligament/ fascia) the spine would collapse so it’s integrity, function, strength and position is determined by the tension of the surrounding tissue. So we look balancing the tension of the tissue that surrounds the spine and ensures that there is proper support available for it. The Osteopathic approach has been so good on this level in that is so gentle yet effective.
Allow the body to move as it is designed to do. Be strong, mobile and your body will be happy.