by Paula Allia PT, DHSc, MTC, OCS

by Paula Allia PT, DHSc, MTC, OCS

Time is fast approaching and we are already amidst the holiday season. If you haven’t done so already, it is time to reflect back through the year and to see what you could have done better. It has been a very busy year at Fitness Together in downtown Naples. Each year I reflect back upon patients and clients and try to think about what could have been done differently to affect the outcome. After all, we do all hands on physical therapy and one-on-one training. I personally listen to my patients and what their needs are and try and address them each and every session. The most pertinent parts of a physical therapist’s job is to recognize signs and symptoms but to also find the cause in order to avoid reoccurrences.

Clients that come into FT per request get assessed for movement impairments. This entails various movements, biomechanical and neuromuscular assessments. Once these systems are assessed results are reviewed and correlated with any current physical issues. Some findings will correlate directly. These areas are inspected especially if a person has symptoms and a specific program is designed…BUT…why not address impairments even if they are not symptomatic?

Clients that have been treated say that they wish that they would have come in sooner to be evaluated. This is a common remark; the thought is that they could have addressed these issues. Actually, people should come in for an assessment even if they are not symptomatic because movement system impairments can be present far before the threshold of pain is reached. These imbalances can be corrected and major orthopedic dysfunctions can be avoided all together. If there are some mild symptoms it is definitely best to be proactive in order to enhance the body to heal itself with the right education and exercises for a specific problem. Early findings is the missing link to the quality of the rest of an active lifestyle.

People have imbalances in their body that go unaddressed. Unfortunately many areas that may be imbalanced can only be found by a trained eye. Unidentified wear and tear over the years may progress to the threshold limit and thus dysfunctions become painful and symptomatic and may result in an altered life.

We all have a combination of mobility, stability and flexibility. Joints are designed as a structural framework for muscular and ligamentous attachments. There are many types of joints in the body and depending upon the architecture a joint motion is different. Ligaments help to check that motion and add to the joint’s stability but if that ligament is stretched hypermobility occurs. Increasing joint mobility is not always a good thing and this excessive motion may lead to an unstable joint.

Flexibility and extensibility in tissue is usually considered to be a good thing if within a normal limits. If either too much or little, joint structures may be at risk for injury due to decreasing the proper biomechanical structural support needed for normal kinesiology and functional movement.

Stability of a joint is pertinent to good functional use during movement. If, for example, a joint is hypermobile, local musculature has to compensate in order to perform activities. Many times the muscles work overtime to stabilize a joint and this is done in the neuromuscular system. The muscles may develop hypertrophy or tension from their excess contribution in attempts of stabilizing.

Muscles that are overworked are sometimes mistaken for tight muscles. Thus, a person stretches out that muscle. It seems to alleviate the tight feeling but it then tightens again; In actuality, some of these muscles may be long and weak because they are called upon to fire when they are actually stretched. Then muscles may need to be strengthened in a shorter range and the proper angles are key.

A vicious cycle commences and goes unrecognized until some muscles are indeed overworked while others are reflexively inhibited and weakened. The trained eye can observe these movement impairments. The improper pattern needs to be halted and a plan of execution can get the joints and muscles firing properly in order to correct abnormal patterns. The longer these movement patterns are altered the more chance of developing pain.

In summary, do not wait to have your body checked for proper movement patterns in the joints and surrounding musculature. Finding impairments early is extremely helpful and correction will put you back on track to using your joints and muscles in an optimal way. The answer is not always stretching. Proper strength, length tension in combination with proper rolls, slides, and glides for your joints may allow you a better quality of life with active participation in all life has to offer.

Give the gift of fitness to yourself and learn what we can do for you. Maintaining your body in an optimal way is the best present you can give yourself. Merry Fitness to you and your body!

Fitness Together
335 14th Ave South
Naples, FL 34102

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