Brian Watters, DC, MS, CSCS
Why do you workout? Health, injury prevention, performance, the list may go on and on, but the important part is that you are working out. Whatever the reason may be, consistency is the key when working with any of these goals, especially in the realm of weight training. So to keep you working out would be an important piece of attaining your future goals.
Previously, as a strength coach and trainer, I saw the intensity of a workout that got the job done. Currently, I participate in workouts that push physical limitations of the body and understand what it needs to keep it going. We need our bodies, our machines; functioning at top level to get the results we want. As a Chiropractic Physician I help keep the body at full capacity with the use of Active Release Techniques (ART) and functional rehabilitation.
As a Physician I treat musckulo-skeletal disorders and use my knowledge from a Masters Degree in Sports Rehabilitation as a biomechanics expert. A joint moves only because muscles act on that joint. In order for every joint in the body to function properly you need opposing forces on that joint to be balanced. Therefore the muscles surrounding the joints should work harmoniously in order to get a fluid system. Injuries and pain often come from damage to the muscle, which form adhesions in the soft tissues in the body. The only way to overcome this is to address the adhesions.
ART is a soft tissue treatment system that identifies and treats soft tissue injuries and adhesions, which can impair the functional capacity of the human body. These injuries and adhesions can affect daily activities or physical activity such as weight training. A good way to view muscle is as a bundle of rubber bands, when it is working properly they are free to lengthen and contract. But when a muscle is injured or overused it tends to shorten. This shortening is a result of scar tissue that forms between and within the muscle. This scar tissue build-up will eventually lead to symptoms such as pain and weakness, which will limit range of motion in joints and eventually performance. ART can be used to diagnose and treat soft-tissue adhesions, nerve entrapments, and myofascial restrictions that lead to joint stiffness.
This makes ART the perfect treatment for tendonitis, muscle and joint pain, traumatic injuries, and overuse or repetitive use injuries. These are all typically seen in recreational athletes and professional athletes alike and can all limit weight training and hinder goals. It isn’t enough to just get you out of pain, there is also a component to teach you how to take care of yourself and prevent these same or new problems in the future. There is a strong emphasis on self-care in what I do. Self-care is the end product that will prevent future reoccurrence and help to limit hindrance when a flare-up does occur. Because of the multi-faceted approach cases can be resolved in typically 4-6 visits.
As a Chiropractor I obviously see neck pain and back pain, but what most people don’t know is that the most common types of injuries and pain symptoms in the office are shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, and ankle. Even though these tend to have multiple mechanisms of injury and are challenging they also have the best outcomes from treatment.
Only after a thorough functional examination can injuries and pain be assessed and addressed appropriately, but typical cases seen with good results are as follows.
Three of the most common examples of weight training concerns:
1. Pain during bench press or push-ups - Many people suffer from pain or discomfort from this pressing motion and can typically be resolved from treatment to the muscles that balance the shoulder girdle. Balance is also an important factor in addressing issues with this type of motion. Especially important populations to look at are those who use computers, drive, or sit during the day and weight train outside of work. I always emphasize the rule of opposites with these cases. Many issues with internal rotation of the arms bilaterally have been seen and can be corrected by functional rehab with ART, awareness, and behavior changes which can result in less pain from pressing motions.
2. Pain or limitation of depth in squat – Many have ankle, knee, hip, back, or shoulder issues, which may present to limit squat, which is the most biomechanically important movement of all. Addressing hip and ankle strength and knee movement with balance may alleviate symptoms and correct biomechanical faults long term to prevent future damage.
3. Decreased range of motion or pain overhead – Myofascial adhesions in the chest, back, or shoulder can limit and cause small biomechanical changes in the shoulder joint which overtime can affect range of motion and cause pain.
Because of my passion for biomechanics and evidence-based medicine I am a lead ART provider at IRONMAN triathlon events, marathon events, and competitive events involving weight lifting such as Crossfit and powerlifting. I have treated many collegiate, professional, and Olympic athletes through my experience as a clinician, which makes what I do even that more important for people that push themselves in the gym and elsewhere as hard as other athletes.
Don’t wait until your goals are in jeopardy, take control of your own health and get your questions and concerns answered today, you’ll be one step closer to biomechanics success.