Active participation in exercise, stretching, and balance techniques are an important part of recovery from injury and return to full function. Most common musculoskeletal disorders, like muscle, tendon, or joint pain and stiffness of the neck, back, and extremities, are caused by one of two fundamental problems (sometimes both): Mobility or Stability.
Mobility means tightness (lack of tissue extensibility) and Stability means weakness (deconditioned and/or lack of motor control). Mobility problems are usually treated with myofascial release and stretching techniques, and Stability problems are usually treated with rehab/exercise techniques.
A Mobility problem should be treated and resolved as fully as possible before treating a Stability problem because rehab/exercise in the presence of tissue tightness will result in the development of abnormal movement and motor control patterns.
These are some of the rehab tools we use in our office...
Contract-Relax Assisted Stretching
Assisted stretching can achieve improved flexibility by way of minimizing patient effort during the stretch. The cyclic contract-relax portion of the stretch helps to tone down muscle rigidity to allow optimum tissue lengthening.
Posterior Chain Stretching
The Posterior Chain consists of the muscles and connective tissues on the back of the body running from the head to the toes. It is most efficient to simultaneously stretch related structures rather than one or another in isolation. These stretches target the latissimus muscles, dorsolumbar fascia, glutes, hamstrings, and calve muscles all at the same time.
Gym Ball Core Strengthening
This brief series of seven one-minute exercises compiled, practiced, and taught by Dr. Carb tones and strengthens the core muscles including the upper, lower and deep abdominals, the back extensors, and the gluteals, plus the hamstrings and quadriceps. The benefit of the workout is better support of your body's frame in good posture when at rest, performing activities of daily living, or participating in sports and recreation. The purpose of the ball is to create a semi-unstable environment for the stomach, back, hip, leg, and arm muscles to stabilize while performing the various positions and movements. Be sure to get personalized instruction before you attempt this workout.
Circuit Training Workout
This circuit provides a full body workout in 30-minutes with a combination of free weights, exercise machines, some calisthenics, and the above gym ball exercises.
Simple Balance Exercises
Balance exercises can help to increase kinesthetic (movement) and proprioceptive (position) awareness, physical equilibrium, core strengthening, and body coordination. These are also great to do as part of a rehab program after any kind of lower extremity injury (like an ankle sprain), and to maintain balance throughout the aging process.
Foam Roller Stretches
The foam roller is a low cost, highly efficient tool for stretching some muscles, fascial and connective tissues, and spine segments. The foam roller is a dense tube of foam, usually 6" x 36", that is used to roll various body parts to create greater flexibility. The small contact area of the roller acts as a fulcrum to apply tissue tension over a focused region that cannot be matched by the larger contact area of a gym ball, for example. Below are two applications: Foam Roller Stretches for the Iliotibial Band, Foam Roller Stretches for Poor Posture & Stiff, Rounded Back, and Foam Roller Stretches for the Spine.