For your body to function optimally, there needs to be a balance of muscle length and strength between opposing muscles that are attached to the joints.
As children we have a fairly neutral posture where our muscles and cognitive tissue are nicely balanced and we can move well. I often look at kids and think to myself “I wish I were that flexible” and the truth is…. I was that flexible and fit when I was that age, then it became time to adult. Forward many years later and here we are! Chronic aches and pains, stiffness, tiredness…….. the list goes on. Life happened.
As we grow older and our activities become more repetitive, we start to experience postural adaptations that leave us unbalanced. Daily activities such as picking up your child, sitting at a computer all day, carrying and picking up groceries…. All these daily activities and chores can lead to muscle imbalances.
WHAT IS MUSCLE IMBALANCE?
Muscle imbalance means that one side of your body may be short and tight and stronger while the other side is long and weak. If the imbalance is left untreated it can lead to discomfort and chronic pain.
SYMPTOMS OF MUSCLE IMBALANCE
There are many ways muscle imbalances can present themselves. Muscle imbalance symptoms include:
- Slipped disc
- Lower back pain
- Rotator cuff tendonitis
- Shoulder impingement
- Neck pain
- Sports injuries
- Knee pain
- Hamstring tears
Here are 4 ways to correct muscle imbalances
HOW DO YOU TREAT MUSCLE IMBALANCES?
The best way to treat muscle imbalance is to exercise to strengthen the weaker muscle and this will help correct the alignment of your body. Seek the help of a professional to help you identify what factors are contributing to your issue and solve the underlying problem instead of just treating the symptoms.
Some muscle imbalances are caused by tight muscles and soft tissues. For example: If you spend a lot of time sitting at your desk each day, you may have short and tight hip flexor muscles which can lead to back pain. In this case you would require a stretching routine to relax and lengthen the muscles and tendons which can help restore balance.
PREVENTING MUSCLE IMBALANCE
To prevent muscle imbalance from occurring, make sure you have a balanced training routine.
- Resistance training (especially unilateral movements), is a great way to keep your muscles balanced. When doing unilateral movements, start with your weaker side.
- Make sure you train all muscle groups evenly.
- Add stretching!! This can be done after your workout or better yet, add some yoga in the mix! Try a yoga routine 2 or 3 times a week. It doesn’t have to be long (15 – 20 minutes will help your reap the benefits).
Your body will thank you!
Not sure where to start when it comes to yoga and stretching? One of my favourite yoga instructors whom I follow on YouTube: Sarah Beth – 15 minute Full Body Yoga Stretch
At some point in life we all suffer from chronic pain. Some of these chronic pains are due to physical imbalances rather than illness. Most of the time we treat the symptoms rather than treating the underlying problem. If you have chronic pain and you’re not active and exercising, I suggest that you start. If you are exercising and active and have chronic pain, I suggest you rethink or change your routine to bring your body back into alignment.
Before diagnosing yourself, it is always best to seek the help and guidance of a professional.
Do you think your chronic pain could be caused by a muscle imbalance? Leave a comment below
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