Got pain? Stop using the brace!

March 11, 2015
Sheena Nadeau

When we experience chronic pain or pain that seems to slowly creep on us then suddenly it’s always bothering us, most of us are told to use a relative joint brace. Knee braces are very common, as are back braces and wrist braces. While these may help offer support while the specific joints are healing form an injury, using them for several weeks and months will keep the braced joint weak and unable to support itself without the brace. This also forces other parts of your body to work harder to compensate for the braced and weaker joint and surrounding musculature.
We experience pain when our bodies are being physically damaged by the stresses acting on our muscles and bony joints. When we move in poor posture, with suboptimal movement patterns, we set up our body for risk of injury with every movement. Hamstrings can get strained from overworking due to inhibited gluteus muscles. Plantar Fasciitis can be lessened with proper calf muscle lengthening and strengthening. Knee pain may be a cry for help from the hips, begging for us to strengthen our highly supportive gluteal muscles. Our gluteal muscles, especially gluteus maximus, has the potential to be the strongest muscle in our body. However, from our constant sitting posture our hip flexors become tightened, causing the gluteus muscles to lose activation. When this happens, the glutes are no longer supporting the entire spine nor helping to keep the trunk lifted over the legs, alleviating uneven forces acting on the knees and other joints up and down the kinetic chain.
Fearful that without the brace, your joint(s) will fail again and you will be injured? Strengthen the surrounding musculature above and below the joint for stabilization. The knees are really just a victim of the hips and feet. The low back is a victim of a crazy tug of war between the several muscles of the hips, legs and trunk pulling at the low back in every direction. Wrist pain and carpel tunnel can stem from lack of optimal strength from the shoulders and forearms, not to mention spine posture as well as wrist posture when performing tasks.

Start with these exercises and stretches to relieve back and/or knee pain today!
Hip Flexor Stretching
Glute Group Strengthening

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