Don’t Build Fitness Over Dysfunction

November 24, 2022

Each day people exercise, and in doing so, they unknowingly put themselves at risk of immediate or future injuries.   The reason is they are building fitness over dysfunction.   Dysfunction means their body isn’t working correctly.  The problems could be in the joints, the muscles, or abnormal posture (such as forward head posture or a rotated pelvis).  Additionally, it could also involve problems related to other connective tissues (such as the fascia or the ligaments).

Scott Davis is a 46-year-old freelance sports writer from Pittsburgh, PA.   Scott enjoys playing golf, softball, and paddleball. He works out at the gym 3-4 days per week.  However whenever Scott plays sports or works out, his low back hurts.  It feels like there is a vice clamping down on his lower back.  Despite the pain and discomfort, Scott pushes on and completes his workouts, and fights through. Why does Scott’s back hurt?   And why isn’t he doing anything about fixing the problem?

The problem with Scott is that he has dysfunction in his low back.   His joints are not moving correctly.  He has tight hamstrings, a weak core, an unbalanced pelvis, and spinal instability.   While he is exercising (hitting both cardio and weights), he is building fitness over dysfunction.  Subsequently, he is not only suffering from chronic pain, he is also putting himself at risk of accelerated degenerative changes in his joints, discs, and muscles.

Building fitness over dysfunction leads to diminished athletic performance, acute injuries, and chronic & reoccurring problems (such as rolled ankles, rotator cuff tears, hip movement disorders, and lower back sprain strains).

The failure to diagnose, identify and correct dysfunction is an enormously widespread problem.  People need to undergo a performance screening examination to find out if they are experiencing musculoskeletal dysfunction.  This includes not only those currently suffering from pain but also those who have not yet experienced any symptoms.  Yet, how many of us have gone through the trouble of going through a performance screen to see how our bodies are performing prior to engaging in sports or an exercise protocol?   Additionally, for those who did bother to go to their medical doctor, did the physician understand enough about biomechanics to check for joint motion, soft tissue integrity, posture, core stabilization, and the other factors which go into total body function?

There is a new gold standard for checking and correcting musculoskeletal function.  It is called “MAS Correction”. MAS is an acronym that stands for Motion-Alignment-Strength.   Most musculoskeletal problems are caused by dysfunction with motion, alignment or strength.  Motion is essential for life, a pain-free lifestyle, and enhanced athletic performance.  When our bodies stop moving correctly, they start to break down.  Healthy motion involves joint motion, muscle motion, and motion patterns (coupled motion involving multiple areas of the body which work together (such as the shoulders and thoracic spine).

Normal alignment is as important to the spine as it is to a suspension bridge or building.  Mechanical engineers know that if a bridge is structurally unsound, it can collapse. If the foundation of a building isn’t level, the building will never be structurally sound.  Just like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, a crooked spine doesn’t have mechanical stability either.  If your spine lacks core strength, it won’t be able to handle the various demands placed upon it via your activities of daily living.  The result of this is chronic, nagging pain and re-injuring of the same areas over and over again.  In order to stabilize and strengthen the spine, you need a program that is specifically designed to discover and then correct functional weaknesses.  In order to accomplish this, we take our patients through a series of functional tests to assess where weak areas may be.  Then we prescribe exercises to strengthen those isolated muscle groups which are suspected to be lacking the appropriate degree of strength & stability.

You must fix movement problems first, alignment problems second, and stability/strength problems last.  Failure to address these issues in the correct sequence will result in a significantly increased probability of re-injury.   I recommend every person who exercises or plays sports get checked using MAS Correction protocols to ensure they are not at risk of building fitness over dysfunction.   It is much better, easier, and more affordable to prevent problems rather than fixing injuries after they occur.

If you have muscle or joint issues that seem to get worse after a workout, call us today to see what we can do for you.  We may be reached by calling 412-595-7332.