The Window of Opportunity
There is a period of time after an adjustment in which increased range of motion has been achieved in a previously restricted joint. Unfortunately, if nothing is done after an adjustment, muscle imbalances remain and the joint quickly becomes restricted again. This is why it is crucial to train proper movement patterns and activate stabilizing muscle following an adjustment. By improving movement patterns and activating muscle of stabilization it will help to maintain the benefits of the adjustment and help to prevent conditions from lingering. The adjustment provides us with a window of opportunity to gain control of increased range of motion and improve function to achieve longer lasting results.
Grooving the New Pattern
You’ve most likely heard the term “muscle memory” when referring to complex skills such as painting, riding a bike or shooting a basketball. Players like Steph Curry know the moment the ball is released if it will go in or not, due to muscle memory and the feel of the ball coming off their hand. Proper movement is like any other skill; the brain needs practice doing it correctly. The more we deliberately practice stabilizing and moving properly, the more “automatic” it becomes for our brain to utilize the muscles and joints in such a way. In a perfect world we would all maintain ideal movement patterns, but with our modern society many of our activities of daily living encourage muscle imbalances and poor movement patterns. Check out this interesting video on learning to ride a bicycle backwards, muscle memory, and the brains ability to adapt.
Humans are all born with a blueprint in our DNA to form neuromuscular pathways for ideal movement during our first year of development. If you have kids you have seen how your child has reached each developmental milestone from being able to hold their head up, rolling over, crawling, and walking to name a few. However, after our first year of development movement is rarely looked at. As we continue to develop we commonly choose the path of least resistance and this is where many compensation patterns start to develop.
The goal after the adjustment is to start activating these old movement patterns. The best way to do this is through rehabilitation exercises. Unfortunately, exercises are not sexy and are often the portion of treatment that is ignored, because most people feel good after treatment and don't see the need to do the exercises.
Luckily, proper rehabilitation doesn’t have to involve a long list of exercises or be time consuming. It can usually be done with a couple simple exercises performed consistently a few times day. We encourage our patients to set aside just a few rehab minutes in the morning, lunchtime, or evening. Incorporating rehab into your warm-up routine at the gym is also a great way to ensure that you are getting them done, as well as getting you ready for your workout. Once it becomes part of your routine, rehab becomes second nature.
At TROSS our goal is to get you back to doing what you love sooner rather than later, as well as give you the tools to be successful in the long term. We strive to give the most up to date care and best care for each individual patient. If you have any questions or would like to learn more contact TROSS today for a free consultation! TROSS proudly serves the Cottleville, St Charles, St Peters, O’Fallon, and St Louis communities.