The Secret Sauce to a Healthy Body

We are now fully into the New Year and one of the more common resolutions of the year is to take care of our health. We want to be more physically fit and have more energy.  This usually means more exercise, stretching and better eating/sleeping habits.   So, we whole heartedly jump into action. Unfortunately, our body may not cooperate.  During this process of getting a healthy body we may experience feeling achy or even horrible in our body.  Sometimes it disappears as your body gets used to the new demands, but sometimes it won’t go away. Why is that?  There must be some secret sauce to physically being healthier.  Sad to say there is not. Each person has their own unique formula for getting better.  In order for our physical body to feel great it has to improve the structural function and be balanced biochemically.  In this article I am going to focus on the physical body. In order for us to move the way we should and feel great we need a combination of mobility and stability working together so the body can properly perform.  Now this is not secret sauce – but I will say if you don’t have this then your body is going nowhere fast! And it is likely breaking down. What is Mobility and Stability?  

This is your body’s ability to go through a full range of motion while being supported by many tissues of the body.  These tissues include muscles, bones, ligaments, nerves and fascia.  The interconnected aspects of human movement and function are important in understanding the relationship between mobility and stability.  Understanding the mobility/stability relationship can provide insights into addressing physical performance, pain and dysfunction.   It also affects how good you feel as well! Start with Your Joints  As a chiropractor, I feel the most important aspect of mobility is fixing poor joint motion.  Joints need a certain degree of motion for optimal function of all tissues and movement. Lack of motion or excessive stiffness in a joint can lead to restrictions, discomfort, poor athletic performance and of course, pain. Yes, having a stuck joint can indeed cause a variety of pain and dysfunction in the body.  Here are some reasons why a stuck joint may cause you harm: 

Reduced Lubrication and Nutrient Supply: Joints rely on synovial fluid for lubrication and the delivery of nutrients to the joint structures. When a joint is stuck, the normal flow of synovial fluid can be compromised, leading to decreased lubrication and inadequate nourishment of the joint tissues. This can result in pain, stiffness and degeneration. 
Inflammation: A stuck joint can trigger an inflammatory response. Inflammation in the joint can cause pain due to the release of inflammatory fluid that occupies space and compresses tissues, resulting in pain. 
Muscle Tension and Imbalances: When a joint is stuck, surrounding muscles may tense up in an attempt to compensate for the restricted movement. This muscle tension can contribute to pain and discomfort. Additionally, prolonged muscle imbalances can further exacerbate the problem.  
Pressure on Nerves: A stuck joint can exert pressure on nearby nerves, leading to pain. Nerve compression or irritation can also result in muscle weakness, radiating pain, tingling, or numbness in areas of your body. 
Degeneration: Lack of movement in a joint can contribute to degeneration of the joint structures, including cartilage. Over time, this degeneration can lead to conditions such as osteoarthritis, bone spurs and herniated discs.  
Altered Biomechanics: A stuck joint can affect the normal biomechanics of movement. This alteration in movement patterns can create stress on other joints or tissues, leading to pain and discomfort.  It can also affect optimal athletic performance. 
Psychological Factors: Chronic pain associated with a stuck joint can have psychological effects, contributing to stress, anxiety, and a reduced quality of life.  

But once joints can move correctly, we need your soft tissues, specifically muscles to do their job in stabilizing you.  Muscles play a crucial role in providing dynamic stability to joints during movement. They act as control systems to prevent unwanted or excessive motion. Muscles around a joint act as protective mechanisms, preventing the joint from moving into potentially harmful positions.  Why Do Joints and Muscles Hurt? When our body cannot deal with its daily demands we compensate, basically changing how the body functions to be able to continue to work through the day. Compensation leads to altered movement patterns. Over time, these compensations can result in pain and dysfunction.  These compensatory movements can create altered function of our muscles causing muscle imbalances and overuse, causing pain in the muscles.  Compensatory muscle activity doesn’t just lead to tight muscles, it can lead to muscle fatigue. This fatigue makes it difficult to move and muscles cannot respond to your motion leading to falls, sprains and strains.  Fatigued muscles are also more prone to pain and discomfort. Altered function of the muscles then affect how the joint moves and can cause issues with the joint not moving correctly causing degeneration and joints getting stuck. It can also go the opposite direction; a stuck joint can cause muscles to become dysfunctional and tight.  They work hand in hand. Both joint and muscles need each other to make you move the way you were intended.  Once a joint can start moving towards the goal of normal motion you want to start adding in stability training. This involves toning and strengthening muscles around the joint to provide support and control. This will result in proper movement. In certain health practices you will find there is a focus on a particular aspect.  As a Chiropractor I would definitively say that we focus on joint motion as the priority.  In Physical Therapy it is more centered on the muscles.   It’s not to say that either of those professions don’t do additional treatment outside the scope of those categories. How to Integrate Joint and Muscle Health Together It is my opinion, as well as many others, that the best approach is an integrated approach. This often involves addressing both joint motion and muscle stability together, not separate. This can include exercises that promote flexibility, strength, and coordination. Joint manipulations and joint mobilizations are also a necessary component to restore proper movement. This approach also allows for faster results!  The treatment should be geared towards an individual’s needs.  And it should also be more specific based on the individual’s presentation at that time.  There should be no cookie cutter approaches to the care.  Some cases may require more emphasis on joint mobilization, while others may focus on strengthening exercises. You can discover all of this with a comprehensive evaluation of all of these systems. 
Are nerves and ligaments a part of this picture? Yes they are.  Nerves come from your spine.  They send and receive messages from what your body is experiencing.  When these signals are disrupted by degenerative spines, muscles pinching on nerves or nutrition, it affects overall vibrancy of your body. This will result in poor signals to tell your body what to do and this includes the signals to muscles.  This results in muscles that do not contract properly, affecting how you move and how strong you may be!  When you take pressure off the nervous system your body operates better.    The ligaments hold your bones together.  If your ligaments cannot support the joints then this will results in instability. Addressing joint instability often involves a combination of approaches, including strengthening exercises, flexibility training, and, in some cases, joint stabilization techniques.  Instability can be helped with physical care.  There are other medical solutions as well that involve injections, but I’ll save that for another article. Types of physical care include Chiropractic, Physical Therapy and Massage Therapy.   Chiropractic Care focuses on the alignment of the spine and other joints.  Proper alignment can facilitate optimal nerve function and joint movement. Chiropractors commonly use manual adjustments to manipulate joints, particularly the spine, to improve range of motion and restore proper alignment. It often is sought out for pain relief, and adjustments can alleviate pressure on nerves and reduce pain associated with joint dysfunction. There are Chiropractors who do work on soft tissue and integrate it into their care.  That’s what I love to do. Physical Therapy takes an approach to physical muscle strength, flexibility, and overall functional capacity.  Physical therapists design exercise programs to improve joint mobility, muscle strength, and stability. Physical therapists educate patients on proper body mechanics and movement patterns to prevent future issues. There are also Physical Therapists who do joint health as well. There are times that you may not get the results you want.  You went to an MD, or a physical therapist or a Chiropractor and it just wasn’t working. So, through our logic we think nothing will work and we become frustrated.  Your answer may lie in the fact that only one aspect was treated, and the other stuff is needed.  We need mobility and stability together! So find practitioners that do a lot more in their approach.  Find practitioners that can work together in an integrated approach where chiropractic care and physical therapy are used. This approach can provide a more comprehensive strategy for addressing joint motion, stability, and overall musculoskeletal health. It’s important for individuals to consult with healthcare professionals, whether chiropractors or physical therapists, to determine the most appropriate and effective treatment plan based on their specific needs and conditions.  I know this was a long article, but I hope it illuminates for you that there are aspects of your body that help it perform better and be pain free if you address your issues from a comprehensive approach. Please know there are many other treatments and modalities that can be integrated together to give you a better response to your health care.  Take care, 
Dr. Coy 
 
Dr. Coy Roskosky, D.C.,, “Dr. Coy,”  is a highly skilled chiropractor in the Washington D.C. area specializing in chronic pain, sports injuries and performance, carpal tunnel syndrome and TMJ. He uses many techniques including Applied Kinesiology (AK), Sacro Occipital Technique (SOT), Active Release Technique (ART), and Activator in his chiropractic practice at National Integrated Health Associates, NIHA.

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