Overused Muscles and Joints

25 Mar

LOWER BACK PAIN IN A WOMANOveruse injuries occur to muscle, joints, ligaments and connective tissue (fascia) when they are strained and are not given time to repair. Overuse injuries frequently occur at work, mainly because of the amount of time spent at work, often performing repetitive movement patterns such as shovelling, typing and sitting.

When you overuse one muscle group, an opposing muscle group is underused, which results in imbalance. For example, chronic overuse of the biceps can result in weakening of the opposing triceps. Overworking the chest muscles can cause weakening of the muscles of the upper back.

When muscles are tight and short they lose strength, power and efficiency of function. They can impinge soft tissue structures such as nerves and blood vessels, causing chronic injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, and they can shift bones out of alignment, causing joint imbalance.

So what can you do to relieve the pain associated with muscle and joint imbalance?

The aim of chiropractic treatment is restoring spinal balance. Restoring proper motion to joints and locking in that new motion with therapeutic exercise to regain stability and control of movement is the goal. Your chiropractor will do manual adjustments and may perform muscular massage to restricted spinal joints. Sometimes it may be necessary to use heat or ice or dry needling techniques.

Soft tissue treatments such as massage and trigger point (muscle knot) therapy can reduce muscle spasm and relax the tight, restrictive overused muscles. Deep tissue massage on weak, injured muscles and/or tendons to break down adhesions (scar tissue) is a more intensive option. Performing basic massage to the tight muscles is the easiest way to address the issue. Getting regular massages is a good way to help prevent overuse injuries.

Stretching restricted muscle groups helps increase their length, decreasing impingement of surrounding tissues and misalignment of the joint.

Regular non-impact exercise is a critical player in muscle balance. Once the tight muscles have been lengthened from the stretches, it is time to exercise the opposing muscle group, the one that is weak and underdeveloped. Exercising and strengthening the weak underdeveloped muscles forces the opposing muscle group to relax and lengthen further. 

Lastly, don’t ignore pain. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that there is something wrong and it needs attention. And when something is wrong, call Tamworth Chiropractic Centre to get the attention you need.