We are movement and exercise are great for us, physically and mentally, but eventually you develop pain in your joints, muscles, and/or tendons. When things get bad enough, your physician then tells you to stop your activities because they are bad for your joints.
What gives? If exercise is so good for us, then why does it cause pain and injuries?
Movement and exercise are definitely better for you than sitting all day in one place and/or never getting any sort of exercise. The thing that no one told you through all this, though, is that how your body is moving can be detrimental to you over time. How your body is moving is often due to the many years (perhaps decades) of poor posture, sitting too much, habits you picked up, not moving your joints through their full ranges, and never being taught how to move properly with the different activities you do.
Poor movement patterns contribute to many of the injuries we experience, including shoulder pain, back pain, hip pain, knee pain, and foot/ankle pain. You can treat the symptoms all you want with various methods of physical therapy, chiropractic, massage, and self-care, but until you correct what is actually causing the issue in the first place, your issues will remain.
This fix for these poor movement patterns begins with analyzing your movement. It is important to assess where your asymmetries or muscle imbalances are, where you are compensating for something else being weak, tight, or stiff, and/or where you have faulty movement patterns because either someone taught you incorrectly or you never had anyone teach you what proper form is. Once you know how you are moving you can begin to correct the patterns.
Correcting the patterns is the more difficult part in the process. Doing exercises to address tightness or weakness issues is involved, but that is the simple part of the process. The difficult part lies in retraining years of habits your body views as normal. Breaking The Brain and Resetting The Brain can be a frustrating processes. It requires you to force your body to move in what feels to be very unnatural ways even though they are the proper ways to move. It takes consistent work (on a daily basis) over a period of weeks (and possibly months) to fully get your body and brain to learn and feel natural with the new, proper movement patterns.
Once you correct the patterns, I cannot say you will never get injured again, as things do happen – life and accidents happen – but I can say the chronic, nagging, or recurring injuries you are used to dealing with will likely be a thing of the past.
Written by Brianne Showman. Brianne is a physical therapist and running coach with Get Your Fix Physical Therapy And Performance. Her focus is on helping athletes resolve injuries in less time by getting to the root of the problem, improving movement patterns, and incorporating proper training to help the body to move more efficiently, more powerfully, and in less injury-prone ways.