Have you ever taken an apple from the produce section at the grocery store and caused an apple avalanche to tumble all over the floor? Or loosened your belt to the point where your pants fell down?
All moving things, our joints included, require a certain amount of tension and stability, if they are too loose they can cause a ripple effect of problems. In the case of our joints, bones and muscles, this ripple effect isn’t as incidental as an embarrassing grocery store incident or sagging jeans. The results can be severe, long lasting, and far reaching to other parts of the body. After all, our body is an intricate system of hinges and pulleys – all sensitive to each others tensions.
Stretch and massage feels wonderful! It can also create some beneficial space in our joints so we can regain movement. However, stretch and massage alone is NOT the answer to the rehabilitation of a body part. Sometimes a muscle has tightened up to offer stability, doing release work without stabilization and re-education can create instability.
Physical therapy and true physical fitness involves the mobilization and stabilization of joints, and re-education of the muscles and central nervous system to produce efficient and graceful movement, free of impingement, instability and compensations.
So, next time you’re at the nail salon and you’re craving a shoulder massage, tell the manicurist to tread lightly. Bringing blood to the muscles via gentle massage is a good thing, but affecting the muscles deeply can potentially lead to other issues. And if and when you do require physical therapy, remember that your experience is more than just muscle release. Stability is the only thing that can lead to true strength and true strength is the answer to a happy, pain free body!
Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Elizabeth Houchins has been involved in fitness since childhood, participating in multiple team and individual sports. She became a certified personal trainer in 2007 through NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) and also completed certification courses in Schwinn Cycling (Spin Instruction), Group Exercise Instruction, NASM Stretch and Release and Annette Lang Pre and Post-Natal personal training.