Mobility is really a catchall term that refers to a number of factors—muscles, joints and tendons, for instance—that contribute to your ability to move freely. What can inhibit your mobility? Muscle imbalance is one common reason.
Let’s consider a person who sits at a computer all day for work. In this case, the shoulders are probably pulled forward, which creates a strength imbalance between the front and back of your body. Over time, this imbalance can begin to be a problem. Eventually, you will need to work on stabilization and mobilization in order to fix the imbalance and prevent injury.
How is Muscle Imbalance Identified?
There are tests that a chiropractor can do in order to identify improper movement patterns that can lead to muscle imbalance. Once these tests are completed, then a series of corrective exercises can be recommended.
Five Tests to Identify Muscle Imbalance and Injury Risk
Here are five tests that can be done to find slight movement irregularities throughout the body. With each one, your chiropractor looks for signs that may indicate muscle imbalance.
Deep Squat. Holding a rod or bar overhead, you’ll drop into a deep squat. Performed correctly, your knees should remain over your ankles, your spine will be straight and neutral and your feet should remain on the ground.
In-Line Lunge. With this movement, the rod is held behind your back and parallel to your spine. Then, you perform the lunge. Your knees should stay in line with your feet and your torso should remain upright and not tip forward.
Rotational Stability. Get down on your hands and knees. Now extend the right arm and right leg until they are parallel to the floor and then squeeze the elbow and knee together underneath your mid-section. Repeat a few times and then do the same on the left side. This exercise tests for weakness or asymmetry in your core.
Hurdle Step Over. While holding a bar across the back of your shoulders, you’ll need to step over a low hurdle or just bring your knee up to waist high and take a step forward. You should be able to do this without wobbling and be able to lift your hip high enough to clear the hurdle.
Trunk Stability Push-Up. This push-up is a little different. Men align their hands with their foreheads while women align their hands underneath the chin. Then do a standard pushup. Your back should not dip down—a sign of core weakness. In addition, an imbalance between your chest and upper back will show in the way your shoulder blades move during the exercise.
Fixing a Muscle Imbalance
Depending on the results of these five test movements, a plan of corrective exercises will be developed. Corrective exercise is designed to undo all of the imbalances the body makes during a normal day in order to restore correct structure.
Meet the Doctor
Dr. Zinovy Chukhman is a chiropractor in Richardson. He is trained in several chiropractic treatment methods that help with pain management. Contact our office today for an evaluation.