Written by Michael McCarthy – March 27, 2018
We all have nagging aches and pains (well at least most of us) that have snuck up on us over time. Sometimes it comes rudely and unexpectedly, like the time my distant cousin drove down from Canada unannounced and stayed with us for a week. Either way, these aches and pains are annoying and sometimes hard to get rid of.
To help get rid of these aches, we need to discover the source of the problem. You might say, “Well that’s obvious. The source is where the pain is coming from.” Now that’s not entirely false, because that is where the source of the pain is, however we need to take a look at the bigger picture.
As Certified Functional Strength Coaches we use a method called the Joint by Joint approach that we geniously stole from the original creator of this method (it’s ok, he steals stuff from people all the time). This approach allows us to gain a better understanding of human movement and function, and the roles that our joints play.
Specific joints have a primary need for either being mobility joints or stability joints. Mobility joints such as the ankle and shoulder require the range of motion to properly propel the body through movement. Stability joints such as the knee and lower back need to be stable to support the structure of their associated parts through movement. When a mobility joint becomes too stiff or a stability joint becomes too mobile, it will send a chain reaction up or down the body to the next joint.
For example, if someone has injured their ankle multiple times and it now has adapted to become very stiff, this joint that is supposed to be mobile has now turned into a more stable joint. This joint now does not function with the range of motion that required, but the body still needs to move through Mike’s Spin and Strength class. To compensate for this lack of mobility, the knee joint on the same leg will start to become more mobile. It will twist and turn to adapt for the lack of mobility in the ankle, which without intervention can lead to long term damage in the knee.
As you can see with this example, there is a bigger picture to our aches and pains. The source of the problem can be coming from either above or below where we feel pain. As fitness professionals it is our main goal to improve the performance of all our clients. We look for compensation through functional movement assessments and monitoring movement patterns in attempt to discover the source. Once identified we develop a plan to improve as much function as we can and keep our clients on the path to achieving their goals.