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I have back pain, why are you checking my squat? Why are you looking at my ankles?

Updated: Dec 21, 2022

Did you know that your elbow pain could actually be coming from a problem with your shoulder? Or your back pain could be coming from an issue with your hips? Not being able to properly activate your core (not just the abs!) could be causing your shoulder pain. The list goes on and on. Just because you don’t have pain in one area or joint, doesn’t mean it’s not affecting another area or joint in your body. This is called regional interdependence, which simply means it’s all connected.

Your body is designed to work in an alternating pattern of a stable joint connected by a mobile joint. For example, your knee is considered a “stable” joint. It’s main movement is flexion and extension (bending and straightening the knee), while your shoulder joint is “mobile.” It has a wide range of motion. Your shoulder brings your arm out in front of you, behind you, to the side, it rotates your arm inwards and outwards. When this pattern is altered or changed, it can cause compensation and or pain either at that joint/area or somewhere else down the chain in the body. An example of this we see a lot in the office is when someone’s hips or mid back become tight (less mobile) and don’t move as well, then the lower back, which is supposed to be stable, has to work harder and make up for that loss of movement which results in pain.

Below is a list of the alternating mobile and stable joints in the body. Take a look at the diagram above from Gray Cook and the Functional Movement System to see how it’s all connected.

Normal Pattern

Foot = Stable

Ankle = Mobile

Knee = Stable

Hip = Mobile

Pelvis / Sacrum / Lumbar Spine (low back) = Stable

Thoracic Spine (mid back) = Mobile

Scapulo-Thoracic (shoulder blade) = Stable

Gleno-humeral (shoulder) = Mobile

Elbow = Stable

Wrist = Mobile

Cervical Spine (neck) = Stable

In our office, we focus on finding the root CAUSE of your pain and treating that to help you get back to doing the things you love and keeping the pain from coming back. That’s why when we do our exam, we check your blood pressure, we check your squat, we check how your neck and back move, etc . . . we check the whole body. We will then come up with a treatment plan tailored to you. This will involve specific exercises or stretches, daily modifications, and diet modifications to get you back to doing the things you love. Have questions, give us a call at (720) 207-3010, we would love to chat.


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