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  • Writer's pictureRobin R Varghese, PT.

"Building muscles help in building mindsets". Muscle imbalance matters! Time to warm up!!!.

Let us understand what is muscle imbalance.




  • The joints in human body are enveloped by muscles that coordinate their movements. These muscle groups counterbalance each other and work together to complete a movement.

  • The muscles on either side of the joints and the bones need to be equally strong and flexible to properly carry out these movements. When the muscles on one side become weaker, it causes muscle imbalances.

  • Muscle balance can be defined as a relative equality of muscle length or strength between an agonist and an antagonist;

  • This balance is necessary for normal movement and function.

  • Muscle imbalance arises, in which some muscles become inhibit and weak and others become short and stiff.

  • These changes in tissues may cause inappropriate movement patterns in the individual.

  • These muscle imbalances and movement dysfunctions may have a direct effect on joint surfaces, thus potentially leading to joint degeneration.

  • Joint degeneration may be a direct source of pain, but the actual cause of pain has been often secondary to muscle imbalance.

  • Muscle imbalances also impact joint positions when they are not used and take them along a different path of motion than they were originally meant to do.


Heard of Body Muscular Imbalance?


  • Type of muscle imbalance known as the body muscular imbalance is a situation in which the muscles throughout one side of body gets weaker than those on the other.

  • If we regularly use the muscles on one side more than the other, they get stronger, shorter, and tighter and the muscles of the opposite side simultaneously gets weaker, longer, and looser.

  • While it is possible to still do movements with weak muscles, many tendons and ligaments that support muscle activity could be affected if one is careless.


What could Joint muscular imbalance be?

  • Each of the muscles that surround a joint work together with opposing force that keeps the bones of the joint centered for optimum movement.

  • If one or more of these muscles becomes weaker, stronger, looser, or tighter than normal, you have a muscle imbalance leading to limitations in joint movements.




Causes


  • Single plane exercises

  • Lack of movement

  • Repeated movement of same muscles.

  • Poor posture

  • Maintaining an incorrect posture for a long time could leave a few muscles unworked, making them weak.


Symptoms

  • Soreness of a particular muscle.

  • the same body parts are consistently sore after a workout or an activity. This is a clear sign of muscle imbalance.

  • Poor posture can be a sign of muscle imbalance.

  • Noticeable difference in strength, flexibility or balance on one side of the body versus the other side.

  • Limitations in mobility

  • Pain (not necessarily in every case)


Types/Approaches


Muscles may become unbalanced as a result of adaptation or dysfunction. Such muscle imbalances can be either functional or pathological:


1. Functional muscle imbalances

  • Occurs in response to adaptation for complex movement patterns, including imbalances in strength or flexibility of antagonistic muscle groups.

  • The structural approach focuses on actual damage to musculoskeletal structures such as rotator cuff tendonitis or a ligament injury.

  • The functional approach examines factors that contribute to structural lesions. This approach is most useful for physical therapy management of chronic ‘dysfunctions’ such as persistent joint pain and tendonitis.


2. Pathological muscle imbalance

  • Occurs when muscle imbalance impairs function.

  • Pathological muscle imbalance typically is associated with dysfunction and pain, although its cause may or may not result from an initial traumatic event.

  • Pathological imbalance may also be insidious; many people have these muscle imbalances without pain.

  • Ultimately, pathological muscle imbalance leads to joint dysfunction and altered movement patterns, which in turn lead to pain.

  • Some injuries cause muscle imbalance, while others may result from muscle imbalance. Sometimes pathological imbalances are a functional compensation for an injury. For example, unbalanced biomechanical joint stresses that result from muscle imbalance may lead to joint damage, setting up a vicious cycle of pain and inflammation.

  • The structural inflammation then affects the neuromuscular system of the joint, creating further dysfunction.

  • Eventually, the body adapts the motor program for movement to compensate for the dysfunction. The functional cause of the problem is muscle imbalance, while the symptom is pain and inflammation resulting from a structural lesion.

  • Therefore, it is possible to have both a structural and a functional lesion, but for accurate diagnosis and treatment, the clinician must decide which lesion is the actual cause of dysfunction.


Treatment

  • Research shows that Pilates training and flexibility exercises, can effectively restore muscle balance.

  • muscle imbalance exercises like the following were found to be very effective and improved muscle balance:

-Flexibility exercises focused on enhancing their range of motion by rolling the joints and moving the fingers, wrist, knees, ankle, and toes

-Flexibility exercises focused on enhancing their range of motion by rolling the joints and moving the fingers, wrist, knees, ankle, and toes

-Muscle balance training using weight training equipment

  • Another popular approach to treat muscle imbalances is known as the Janda method. According to this approach, the musculoskeletal system and central nervous systems are interdependent. The Janda approach collectively refers to these systems as the sensorimotor system and aims to treat it to achieve stability.



Researches:


  • Researchers have discovered that the alterations in muscle imbalance and flexibility are common among overhead athletes and hence proper balance to an athlete’s muscles is crucial for flexibility and stability in preventing potential injuries in the shoulder region.

  • Muscle imbalances result in movement impairments due to changes in arthrokinematics, which may cause structural damages.

  • A deficit in the strength or flexibility in one muscle, such as an agonist, has to be compensated by another muscle, which in this case, is the antagonist muscle, thus leading to a dysfunction

  • A significant correlation exists between muscle imbalance and damages such as lower back, shoulder, wrist, and elbow injury among overhead athletes. Muscle imbalance exposes athletes to an increased risk of joint disorders. Moreover, players of overhead sports are likely to suffer injuries attributed to muscle imbalance because of the different muscle forces applied in the dominant and non-dominant arms.

  • Scholars maintain that the dominant arm applies muscle force nearly 10% greater than the non-dominant arm. The dominant shoulder of most players tends to be stronger than their non-dominant shoulder.

  • Chronic low back pain (CLBP) has been related to hips, trunk and spine strength imbalances and/or low flexibility levels.

  • Force-fatigability relationship states that the greater the force exerted by a muscle, the more the muscle will fatigue.

  • Unilateral exercises and training regimens have previously been investigated for their differences from bilateral exercises and regimens in strength and power development, but with respect to functional asymmetries they could be utilized to eliminate the effect of the dominant side on the nondominant side when training, therefore decreasing an imbalance.

  • The existence of a lower body muscle imbalance has previously been correlated with increased injury risk, and has the potential to alter running mechanics and influence running performance.



At Valley Healing Hands, Brownsville, Texas, we provide the best Physical Therapy treatment for muscle imbalance. Our Physical therapists are highly qualified and will assess you as per your complaints. They will plan a personalized regime for your complaints and will be more than happy to guide you through the sessions to set your muscles strong and regain your muscle balance. Our patients are totally satisfied with our services. Your may learn what they have to say about us here and get connected to us here. Our patients love us, you too will!!!




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