Our body has muscles (or groups of muscles) that are attached to either side of a joint and work against one another to control the movement of the joint.
When one side of the opposing muscles is stronger than the other, you have a muscle imbalance. For instance, if you regularly use the muscles on one side a lot more than the other, they get stronger muscles – and shorter and tighter. On the other side, the muscles get weaker – and longer and looser. The shorter, stronger muscles pull that part of your body out of position, and your whole body will end up making adjustments to compensate.
When a muscle imbalance pulls one of your joints out of position, this puts a strain on that joint. This can put stress on structures around the joint causing you to feel pain and limit your mobility.
These problems show up in different forms like:• Lower Back Pain• Slipped discs• Shoulder Impingement and Rotator Cuff tendonitis• Headaches and Neck Pain• Trapped Nerves• Hamstring tears• Knee pain
• Wrong postural habits• Sustained postures• Repetitive movements• For example you might regularly sit slumped at your PC for a long time, or maybe you train one group of muscles but not the opposite group.
Once properly assessed, we focus on three main areas to correct them:• Mobilising joints and releasing short, tight muscles and soft tissues• Strengthening the weaker muscles to correct the body’s alignment and movement control• Identifying and changing the lifestyle and contributing factors
Correcting imbalances with exerciseImbalances can often be corrected through exercise.
FormYour physiotherapist will make sure that your exercise form is proper.
FocusFocus on function and the whole body to avoid muscle imbalances due to exercise.Avoid trying to build huge muscles in one area. For example, if lifting weights or performing a specific exercise like a lunge, always do the same number of reps on both sides of the body.
In some cases, your physiotherapist may also perform ‘hands on’ techniques such as manipulations, or massage to increase your range of movement and speed up your recovery.
Other treatment options include:• Postural Realignment• Ergonomic Assessment• Acupuncture• Taping
If you’re experiencing muscle imbalance, you may be able to address it via targeted exercise. Consider working with a physiotherapist. They can help you diagnose and address any imbalances you may have.