course of the last few weeks this column has discussed the fact that every
tissue in your body has a certain tolerance level. Last week, I discussed a biomechanical evaluation
that goes beyond the limitations of pain and other symptoms. This procedure is designed to locate trouble
areas that decrease your tissue tolerance and lead to musculoskeletal injuries. Over the course of the next three weeks,
suggestions will be outlined to help you proactively improve your tissue
tolerance and thus lower your risk for injury.
Remember, the healthcare hierarchy for those planning on living a happy and healthy lifestyle for 80, 90 or 100 years and beyond involves self care activities as well as proactive healthcare measures in order to minimize or completely avoid the need for crisis care intervention.
The first three supportive measures that you should know about are soft tissue massage, the muscle stick and custom orthotics. These three modalities are useful in supporting the biomechanical correction achieved through spinal manipulative therapy and specific extremity mobilization.
Muscles have a tendency to form adhesions and retain toxins. Soft tissue massage can help work out the toxins and adhesions which will reduce your tissue tolerance over time. Don't forget to drink plenty of water after your massage therapy session.
The muscle stick is an excellent tool for self care. Remember that self care involves the things that you do to help yourself that no one else can do for you. The stick helps improve both flexibility as well as recovery of your muscles. This device has proven to be a very helpful component of warm-up and cool down routines. Some are even small enough to fit into your gym bag.
Custom made orthotics are a healthcare as well as a self care measure. They involve both the aid of a professional evaluation and your participation. Once you have your stabilizing orthotics, you have to make sure that you wear them and not your flip flops. The preferred orthotic is one that is flexible and supports your foot appropriately, but also does not restrict foot motion during walking or running. Such restriction, often seen in hard plastic orthotics, can lead to advanced kinetic chain problems down the road.
The above modalities are listed as supportive measures because when performed alone, they are not primary corrective treatments. In order to correct biomechanical dysfunction, vector-specific joint mobilization must be performed. Otherwise, the joint mechanics will not be corrected and as a result the cause of the problem will not be addressed.