Monday, 24 September 2018

What makes movement good? And how do we improve movement?

Movement is a delicate balance between opposing muscle groups (agonists and antagonists) and stabilizers. Agonists are the muscles responsible for the desired movement, antagonists are the muscles that insure the movement is smooth and appropriate, and stabilizers are those that control joint mechanics and provide a foundation upon which to move.

Pain with movement is often the result of faulty mechanics or co-ordination of the players involved. When stabilizers are used for movement purposes they fatigue and get strained causing pain. Poor movement strategies = joint dysfunction.

Let’s look at the shoulder, the glenohumeral (GH) joint. There are many muscles that move the arm relative to the glenoid fossa, the "socket" part of the GH joint. These big muscles flex, extend, rotate, etc. the arm, but what makes their use efficient and pain free? Three things:

1)    knowledge of the desired movement (compliant agonists and antagonists, “movers”)
2)    solid global stabilizers (spine, scapula, and pelvis)
3)    healthy local stabilizers (‘rotator cuff’)

The ‘rotator cuff’ isn’t designed for big movements but rather for stabilizing the head of the arm, the “ball”, in the “socket”. Its purpose is to compress and change the line of pull on the “ball” as the arm travels through its range of motion.

So what can we do to help fix dysfunctional movement and its associated aches and pains?

Electro-acupuncture is an excellent way to reset muscle tension, decrease pain, and improve motor function. When we feel the contraction of a muscle in isolation, we teach our brain about the importance and quality of its action. Electro-acupuncture helps make the muscle malleable so that it can respond better to movement strategy retraining. The combination of these two strategies will set you on your way to more efficient and pain free movement.

Dr. Mark Bird, BSc (Hon), MSc, Acu, DC

No comments:

Post a Comment