Many of us put a lot of money and effort into getting the right type of exercise. So it is important for it to be done correctly to avoid injury. We include this advice as part of our treatments. Below are a few common problem we find.
The lower back bears all of our body weight throughout most movements. If there is a problem with your back posture, it will be exaggerated when we increase the load placed on the lower back when we exercise. One of the most common mistakes is extending your back by trying too hard to keep it straight. This creates a hinge through your lower back which focuses all the force of your exercise into it. This will happen for one of three reasons - poor core muscle activation, too much tightness in the muscles of your lower back, or too much weight on your exercise bar.
The other most common issue we see in when our patients bend forward to perform a variety of exercises - they flex their lower back without engaging their hips at all. This makes the lower back act like a crane to help lift. This amplifys the load being placed on it which dramatically increases the risk of injury. Factors which most commonly create this imbalance are tight leg and hip muscles, poor muscle pattern training - the wrong ones turning on at the wrong times, and too much weight being used in the exercise.
Our shoulders are one of the most mobile joints we have. They are very dependant on muscle strength, control and strength in the area in order to remain healthy. Many of our patients who work in an office all day like going to the gym in order to try and increase the health of their shoulders. The positioning of your shoulders before you start to work out is vital though as is the pre-existing balance of muscles.
The most common problem we see is an extreme tightnes of the rotator cuff muscles. Most exercise routines skip this muscle group altogether and focus on the pectoral, deltoid and biceps / triceps muscles. This usually will gradually lead to increasing severe rotator cuff and shoulder problems. Osteopathic treatment can help restore this balance rather quickly, but so can stretching. Check out our free stretching section.
The knee is a very simple hinge joint. As such it is only good at bending, however, it is common for a twist to creep into a knee due to a dysfunction in the hips or ankles. Initially when a knee is twisted and it is loaded (eg. weight-lifting / squatting / running) it will begin to create an uneven wear and tear on your ligaments and cartilage. We find that it is extremely rare for a knee to be a problem on it's own - rather we need to increase hip muscle balance or flexibility, or ankle stability.
Balance between your hamstrings, adductors, hip flexors and extensors is vital in order to take the strain off the knee. Often just restoring the balance between these muscles is enough to relieve even severe knee pain. As part of your training it is important to introduce activation exercises and stretches in order to re-balance them.