The body is meant to move in a fluid, coordinated manner. Justin Price, Corrective Exercise Specialist with The BioMechanics in San Diego, says when one area of the body is strained or injured, people often unconsciously adjust how they move, stand or sit to reduce pain or other symptoms.
Gravity can make the problem worse because it pulls at the body all day long, potentially causing painful alignment problems. For example, many people sit at a desk with the head in a forward position from the body. To compensate for the change in the center of gravity, the buttocks are pushed back. This movement shifts the hips and eventually causes back pain. Price says treating the back pain is usually unsuccessful because the treatment doesn’t address the real cause of the symptoms – the head in a forward position.
To address many common musculoskeletal complaints, Price developed a program of corrective exercises to address muscle imbalances and alignment problems.
The first part of the program is a verbal assessment of what the client can and cannot do and what kinds of activities are no longer possible. He will also look at what kinds of treatment the client may have tried previously. Next, Price performs a visual assessment, looking at how various parts of the body line up. That’s followed by a hands-on assessment to show the client how the parts of the body appropriately or inappropriately line up during movement.
Corrective exercises may be used for athletes looking to improve sports performance or older patients who simply want to be able to bend down and pick up their grandchildren. Price sees most clients once a week or once every other week for three to six months.
The exercises are designed so they can be done anywhere without the need for expensive equipment or a gym membership. Occasionally he suggests purchasing a foam roller (about $30.00), tennis balls, baseballs or golf balls to perform self-massage and relieve muscle tension.
Corrective exercise programs are typically not covered by insurance. Patients who are looking for someone who teaches corrective exercises should look for a trainer certified by the American College of Sports Medicine, American Council on Exercise, National Academy of Sports Medicine or the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
American College of Sports Medicine, http://www.acsm.org
American Council on Exercise, http://www.acefitness.org
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/index.html
National Academy of Sports Medicine, http://www.nasm.org/prevent
National Strength and Conditioning Association, http://www.nsca-lift.org
Parr, Jeffrey, et al., “Symptoms and Functional Responses to Concentric-Eccentric Isokinetic Versus Eccentric-Only Isotonic Exercises,” Journal of Athletic Training, October 2009, Vol. 44, No. 5, pp. 462-468.
Plisk, Steven, “Functional Training,” National Strength and Conditioning Association, n.d., accessed at http://www.nsca-lift.org, June 1, 2010.
Whitson, Heather, M.D., et al., “Correlation of Symptoms to Function in Older Adults with Comorbidity,” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, April 2009, Vol. 57, No. 4, pp. 676-682.
Yokoya, Tomohisa, et al., “Three-Year Follow-up of the Fall Risk and Physical Function Characteristics of the Elderly Participating in a Community Exercise Class,” Journal of Physiological Anthropology, March 2009, Vol. 28, No. 2, pp. 55-62.