I’m resting my body today after a good game of basketball yesterday. My team ended a 12 game winning streak for someone else’s team, so I’m still reveling in the victory. Since I took up the sport again I’ve had to fight my urge to play just because there is a game and instead give my joints sufficient rest time. A few times I made the mistake of going again to soon and my body let me know that it was not quite ready. It reminds of conversations I have with clients in my office regarding the repetitive things that they do.
For a lot of people it’s golf. For others it’s tennis. For some it’s exercise. For others it may just be cleaning, doing yard work or doing some other repetitive activity. For some it may even be sitting. Whatever it is, if we do it too much of the same movement or activity, or put our self in the same body position too often without sufficient breaks, rest and recovery, we put serious stress on our muscles, joints and connective tissues which can lead to some potentially debilitating conditions.
I understand that I can say all that over and over again and it may not fully sink in, so instead let me show you a picture.
What you are looking at is a joint that has arthritis. Arthritis is a condition where cartilage on the surface of the bone has worn off and the bone is exposed, creating a “bone on bone” situation. A few interesting things are worth pointing out about this image.
1. The metal rod is the scope the doctor used to examine the joint surface. This was done during an arthroscopic procedure.
2. You’ll notice that only a small portion of the surface of the bone has cartilage that is worn down. The healthy cartilage surface is white and the arthritic surface is red.
3. The fact that there is only a small part of the surface worn down means that most of the repetitive stress on the joint occurred on that small area and there was not as much stress on other areas.
Two things that contribute to this are worth pointing out.
As I mentioned, one is repetitive activity, movement or body position. Doing the same things over and over rubs the same parts of the bones together. This causes those parts to wear down quicker and they become more likely to develop this problem. Proper recovery time and adhering to good supportive practices like getting enough water (which lubricates joints and makes them wear down slower) and getting enough sleep is necessary to help reduce the risk of this.
The second is that if you have muscles pulling unevenly on the joint because of muscle inhibition, (which is the condition that is addressed through Muscle Activation Techniques) than you will have a misaligned joint that is unevenly wearing down and can develop arthritis much faster.
Another interesting thing worth noting is that this picture proves that arthritis is not a condition that is purely dependent on age, as many people falsely assume. How do I know? Because the entire joint that you are looking at is the same age, but there is only a small portion that has arthritis. If it were purely due to age than the entire joint would be affected not just a small part. Also, it is worth pointing out that this particular picture was taken on a person in their 50s who did repetitive activity that stressed this particular joint AND had significant muscle inhibition in the muscles protecting this joint that was found during my testing.
I show you this for two reasons.
1. So that you can be better informed about how daily decisions affect the development of this extremely common condition.
2. So that you can make better choices to avoid developing this condition or if you already have it, help ensure it doesn’t get worse.
Please pass this along to a friend or family member that you think it would help too.
Also in case you haven’t heard it, you can check out my radio interview where I discussed what muscle inhibition is and what to about it by clicking here-
To joint health!