Why does musculoskeletal pain seem so widespread and common nowadays? I have seen a heavier stream of clients presenting with, carpal tunnel, plantar fasciitis, neck, shoulder, and low back pain, and they’re not all caused by trauma. Perhaps it’s because we’re not as active as we used to be.
As our home and work environments have become more and more automated, we’re not spending as much of our free time engaged in physical activity, and research indicates that decreased activity may lead to muscular imbalance/ dysfunction and, ultimately injury.
The National Center for Chronic disease Prevention and Health Promotion reports, from decades of research, its major findings:
· Usually inactive people can improve their health and well-being by becoming even moderately active on a regular basis.
· Physical activity need not be strenuous to achieve health benefits.
· Greater health benefits can be achieved by increasing the amount (duration, frequency, or intensity) of physical activity.
· Daily physical activity reduces the risk of developing or dying from some of the leading causes of illness and death in the USA, and improves health in the following ways:
Nowadays, most of us agree that physical activity helps to build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints, controls weight, and promotes psychological well-being, reduces feelings of depression and anxiety, the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and colon cancer.
Our major muscle groups work in pairs, and for normal pain-free flexible operation need to be balanced in terms of strength and flexibility. For example, our biceps muscle bends our elbow and brings our forearm up toward our body during contraction in a biceps curl. The triceps muscle works in opposition to the biceps, and lengthens during the curl to allow the elbow to bend fully.
The biceps which are normally used more often, overpowers the opposing weaker triceps on clients who do not regularly strengthen the triceps with resistance training. Our corrective protocol to achieve muscle balance around the joint is to stretch the shortened biceps and strengthen the weaker triceps muscle. Another common example of muscle imbalance that causes problems is the pectoralis major muscle (chest) overpowering the rhomboids (back).
Many of my clients, who now understand the dire consequences of muscle imbalance, which usually result in a weakened structure leading to injury, schedule regular sessions , and consider it an essential component of their health and wellness plan.
After resolving their pain and muscle imbalance, I occasionally refer them to a knowledgeable personal trainer, experienced in musculoskeletal corrective exercise, who will address potential muscle imbalances.