A quarterly tune up: how to keep your joints healthy

Clangers

Many of our clients present to us with aches and pains that don’t appear to be related to a specific injury. Further questioning coupled with assessment of the whole body will often lead us to some possible explanations.

Injuries most often occur as a result of a change in the loading to our tissues. This may occur through repetitive movements or postures or from a one off incident such as an ankle sprain. When we sprain our ankle it is not just the ankle that is involved. Often the entire body twists and there may also an impact from a fall and having limped around for a few days or weeks, which affect the pelvis hips and lower back. The effects of this can remain in the body once the injury is perceived to have healed and often produce recurrent aches and pains elsewhere in the body which may persist for years after the incident. We refer to this as the ripple effect.

Changes in tissue loading and movement can also occur from incidents we did not even perceive as injuries such as the “almost ankle sprain” where a quick movement saved you from actually damaging the tissues. These often forgotten incidents I call “clangers”. These are incidents where your muscles are expecting a certain movement and loading and then a movement occurs suddenly that is unexpected. This can reset your muscle tension in a wide range of muscles that were working together to produce the expected movement. The impact of these incidents may not be felt immediately, but appear some weeks later when a vague stiffness is felt. Examples of this are a slip or a trip that was saved by a quick response, missing a step or having someone tread on the back of your shoe whilst walking. I have now learned from my own experiences and those of my clients to make a mental note of my “clangers” to see if there is any effect a few weeks later and invariably there is. Our bodies accumulate these micro-traumas which may result in a loss of movement in a joint, a tight and tender muscle and adaptive changes which lead to more strain. As an analogy consider what happens when you hit the kerb with your car tyre, which is forgotten about but throws out your wheel alignment and creates uneven wear on the tyres and ball joints over time. We get our cars serviced regularly so why not our bodies?

The team at Joint Health have been learning new tools to enable us to screen the whole body’s muscular joint and nervous systems checking for the signs of cumulative trauma and adaptive responses, and clear them quickly. Our clients are often surprised to find irritable structures they didn’t know were there and are happy to have a thorough check and tune up. I love it when my clients come in and say “I feel fine but I’d like you to check me over”. To stay in tune I recommend you book yourself a 45 minute appointment once every 3-6 months and definitely if you have experienced a movement “clanger”.

Category: Body