Why do all injuries occur?
There is ONE simple principle that dictates why any musculoskeletal injury occurs:
Load > Capacity
When we really boil it down to its simplest components, that’s all there is to it. At the time you got injured, your tissue simply didn’t have the load-bearing capacity to tolerate the force that was applied. Simple.
Yet that begs the question, why in so many cases do people get injured doing things they have done so often in the past (e.g. muscle tears, pulling a muscle, ligament tears etc.). These injuries are termed chronic injuries & in our experience make up the bulk of the injuries we see. In fact, we feel that probably > 90% of the injuries that people experience have factors contributing to their cause that are chronic in nature. In other words, these factors have been built up over a number of years (and are also preventable).
The TWO major factors that affect the load-bearing capacity of our tissues are:
1) Movement Control: Because the body is kinetically linked, when we lack mobility in certain areas we place an excessive amount of stress on certain areas. A lack of mobility is simply a lack of neurological control. This can be easily overcome through practising movement & training appropriate movement patterns.
2) Tissue Resilience: If we never train an area of our capacity (i.e. our end range of motion or mobility) then we cannot gain extra capacity in that area. When we train & then appropriately recover, we allow our capacity to become greater. When Capacity > Load and the loading stimulus is high enough, we generate an adaptation (training effect) of increased capacity (Hello superpowers). This is essentially what we’re trying to do when we train our body in the gym. We send a stimulus for our body to lay down more resources in creating stronger, more robust tissue that can handle the forces we face on a regular basis.
Movement Compensations, But Why?
To explain why our body creates movement compensations it’s best to take a look at the video below, which describes a concept known as ‘degrees of freedom’. This is a concept from classical physics that essentially describes the amount of variance that any system with many moving parts will experience. Given the human body has over 360 different bony articulations (joints) & around 650 classified muscles, we can start to see just how variable human movement could be. And yet, we all tend to move in a somewhat similar way. This is because our brain has developed certain ways of moving that help our body become more efficient at controlling itself. Most of these are innate, however, all of them need to be practised to be maintained. What this means is that if we spend the majority of our lives sitting (in the office chair, car, lounge at home etc.) and then don’t exercise much or do things that don’t cause our body to explore its full capacity (if you didn’t know the human body can do some pretty amazing things when we ask it to) our brain will start to change our body to adjust to this way of living.
It’s ‘use it or lose it’ in action.
Movement compensations then come about once we’ve started to lose the capacity to move as would be optimal for our body. Our brain then starts to create stability in areas that should be more mobile to make up for the lack of overall strength & tissue resilience. This then starts to create an excess of force going through certain structures (a very common area this plays out in is in the knee joint when we lack both hip & ankle mobility), which then over time leads to abnormal joint loading & possible injury.
Keep It Simple Stupid
By boiling it down to the most simple equation possible, we can really start to demystify what exactly causes an injury at the most fundamental level. This then helps us to get really precise about how we identify the factors that go into causing it in the first place. At MTP we operate under the pretense, that in almost all cases of injury (whether acute or chronic) there are a series of underlying factors that have contributed to the injury (to see a list of some of the key factors that contribute to most injuries, through the example of chronic knee pain check out this comprehensive guide).
When we look at the absolute complexity of human movement we can start to see why certain parts of our body might experience certain issues when we’re lacking in movement throughout our daily lives. To further illustrate this point, take a look at our video on the Kinetic chain.
Ok, Do I Don’t Move Much These Days. What Can I Do About It!
Fortunately, at MTP Health we spend our lives looking at what causes injury. That’s why we’re bringing this message to you.
We’ve been working with people for the better part of the last 15 years (including ourselves) and have uncovered some pretty neat things in the process.
But the best thing about how we operate is that we get to the root cause of your issue. This kind of flips conventional injury treatment on its head. Where most treatment simply looks at the injury itself & its various symptoms, we know by experience that this is simply a surface issue caused by a series of deeper underlying factors.
And the best way to summarise how to address these underlying factors?
Improve The Way You Move”
That’s our motto at MTP Health. And it’s everything we stand for. By improving the way we move we can make sure that we get to the root cause of our injury issues & set ourselves on the right path to being able to do what we want with our bodies. We can then begin working ourselves toward empowerment & living a life centred around movement that we absolutely love. If we accept that we have to move for at least an hour per day to be as healthy as we can be, then the solution becomes pretty simple. We should move as well as we can & do something we enjoy, regularly.
And that’s exactly what we aim to create for you at MTP Health.
To get started with identifying your underlying movement issues & start yourself on the journey towards Improving The Way You Move, we highly recommend you book yourself in for an initial movement evaluation with one of our Exercise Physiologists (or use the guide below to determine what type of practitioner you should book in with). They can get you started on the journey towards an empowered, optimally healthy, injury-free life.
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