Exercise Prescription and Core Stability

By: Salus Physio  09-12-2011

Exercise prescription is a key component of physiotherapy treatments at Salus Physiotherapy. Whenever an injury affects our muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia or joints there is often a loss of strength and flexibility. Some of this will return naturally as the injury heals and we become more active. But if there is any residual weakness, muscle imbalance or loss of flexibility after the original injury has healed, ongoing problems such as pain, loss of mobility or function may result.

The physiotherapists at Salus will conduct a thorough assessment of your joints, muscles, nerves and other soft tissues and, if needed, will prescribe specific exercises as part of your treatment program. Exercise prescription is important in recovering from injury, it is an essential component (as evidenced by a plethora of research) in achieving and maintaining a healthy body.

Even if you don’t have an injury, imbalances in your muscle strength or flexibility can cause subtle changes in the way you move. This in turn can lead to increased stress in other soft tissues and joints creating a domino effect or chain reaction (the body works as a kinetic chain). Your body may then be more susceptible to pain and injury than if the tissues were stronger and better balanced.

Alignment and movement patterns are carefully addressed in the training of athletes, yet little attention is given to these factors in our everyday activities. Typical examples of our daily movements may include: repeatedly turning to the same side when working between the computer and another desk; bending your neck to cradle the phone between your ear and your shoulder; always carrying the baby on the same hip. These habitual postures or movements can create uneven stresses on the body that can lead to pain. Postural alignment is the basis of our movement patterns, therefore optimal movement is difficult if our alignment is faulty. The consequence is a greater predisposition to injuries and pain from the repeated movements of our everyday activities.

Most of us know that exercise is necessary to recover from an injury, fewer people realize that specific exercises, designed for your individual needs, can be a key factor in dealing with your everyday aches and pains or stiffness. Correcting these faulty movement patterns may help alleviate your discomfort and help prevent them from recurring in the future.

The physiotherapists at Salus are trained to prescribe the appropriate exercises for your particular needs. Our goal is your “Movement for Life”.

What is core stability?

The muscular system of the body is made up of an outer and an inner unit. The outer unit consists of superficial muscles necessary for movement and strength. The inner unit, or deep layers, provides stability and control at each segment of the spine and all joints in the body.

What that means simply is this - all muscles are not created equal! Muscles have different jobs to do in the body and therefore when exercising we have work some muscles differently. Since “we get what we train” we need to ensure we train our muscles to do what we need in order to maintain a healthy body and pain free movement.

Your physiotherapist at Salus will assess your pain and evaluate the source of the problem using specific orthopaedic and muscle tests. Once any muscle imbalances or weaknesses have been identified an appropriate exercise program will be prescribed specifically for you. The exercises may include retraining for the deep muscles or strengthening for both the deep and superficial muscle layers together.

Some of the most common complaints people see the physiotherapists at Salus for, are lower back pain, sciatica, back spasms and hip pain. Statistics show that four out of five people experience lower back pain at least once in their lifetime. Research on core stability exercises for the lower back and hips has shown considerable success in treating and helping to prevent recurrences of these symptoms.

In many cases, specific muscle retraining helps to prevent repetitive micro-trauma and degenerative changes to the musculoskeletal system. In other words, by exercising these muscles we may help to protect our joints, which in turn may reduce pain and inflammation over the long term.

When your stabilizing muscles are firing well, returning to your activities of daily living and your sports will be much more enjoyable when you don’t have to worry about pain.

Maintaining healthy core muscles helps keep you moving for life.

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