Why does your body have symptoms? In particular, why might you have joint pain or muscle tightness? This is a complex question with a multitude of factors. At the Athletic Training Institute, the foundation of our practice is properly identifying the cause of such symptoms to then formulate a specific corrective procedure to progress you toward your goals.
For instance, think of your body as a car. When your check engine light goes off you head to your local mechanic to get an inspection to determine the cause. However, what do you do when your body has tightness or pain? It is important to take note when you experience these symptoms, i.e. muscle tightness or joint pain, because it is your body’s way of communicating that something is not right. Rather than brushing it off and attributing it to old age or accepting it as ‘something I live with’, you should pursue the specific reason contributing to your dysfunction.
To identify the cause behind your symptoms, at the Athletic Training Institute we utilize Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) to determine the ‘why’.
Let’s take someone who’s check engine light is on- chronic knee pain. The cause of this knee pain could be due to many factors, such as foot dysfunction, hip instability or core instability. With all the potential issues contributing to knee pain, how do we go about identifying the cause of the symptom?
First we start with a comparative range of motion screening. During the screening we are trying to get a better understanding of how your body functions. Specifically, we are looking for major differences in motion between each side of your body as these are clues to where your nervous system is sensing instability. When the nervous system senses instability it will tighten muscles as a defense mechanism to protect against injury. After the range of motion screen, we will have a better understanding of how your body functions and where to begin correcting.
Identifying the cause of your symptom is critical because if you treat just the symptom the symptom is bound to return. Additionally, over time your body will develop compensation patterns to get around your dysfunction, which will lead to a cascade of issues like increased stress on joints and ligaments, inflammation, stress or decreased range of motion.
In regard to compensation, have you ever noticed after a good warm up your body might ‘loosen’ up? When this happens, the dysfunction contributing to your pain/ tightness never changed, however your nervous system found a way to get around the problem. Furthermore, your body will take the path of least resistance to get the job done, which is important from an evolutionary standpoint, but unhelpful when trying to overcome an injury or prevent future injuries from occurring.
In summary, pain, muscle tightness and loss in range of motion are indicators that your body needs to be examined. These symptoms could be occurring because of many factors and it is important to properly identify the cause to prevent future issues. At the Athletic Training Institute, we address the cause to correct the symptom.
Identifying the Cause of Your Symptoms