By VANESSA HAMPTON
Do you remember that kids song, “Dem Bones”?
You know, the one that tells us all about how the “leg bone’s connected to the knee bone. The knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone…”, etc., etc., etc.
Obviously we know this, but how often to do you think about how your posture is affecting your feet? Or, how many times have you wondered if your sore shoulder could be making your hip hurt?
Probably not a lot, but you definitely should be thinking about it.
People come to me all the time with aches and pains. More often than not, the source of their pain is
not what they expect.
For instance, if your right shoulder is a problem for you, it may be preventing you from using your right arm like you do your left. This means that you are probably letting it hang (favoring) and, in turn, may be relaxing into your whole right side on an ongoing basis. This, in turn, puts more pressure on the right knee because it is having to work harder. This also means the right foot may be turning at an unnatural angle, to compensate for the knee, with every step.
See how that works?
Everyone has imbalances but sometimes it’s not as obvious how your body is compensating until it
shows up as a pain or begins to cause a problem.
I am experiencing this phenomenon myself right now. I have spent way too much time over the last few years focusing on big movements in my workouts and way too little time supplementing it with work on the smaller muscles and working individual sides.
This became very apparent to me when I began to have a recurring issue with my left hamstring.
After returning to physical therapy, I now know that this hamstring problem is actually coming from a problem with the right side of my low back. Who would have thought?!
With the big, full-body movements that have comprised my workout routine, my dominant side was being allowed to rule all the time, and the resulting left side weakness has now begun to show itself. Without help, I may have spent way too much time trying to treat the hamstring problem and never addressing the root cause (my back issue).
Some of the more common things related to this that I often see are poor posture (shoulders that are
rolled forward can affect everything from shoulder and neck pain to altering your stride when you walk), the wrong shoes (when you change shoes and are in the wrong one’s for your body, this
could result in any number of issues including hip problems), and a weak core (this can wreak havoc
on your body and cause back pain, foot pain, and everything in between pain because your middle is
the support system for your whole body).
Long story short, don’t just assume that the pain you are feeling is where the actual problem is. It
can be the source of the problem, but it may actually be a result of an entirely different issue.
Consult a professional such as a physical therapist, chiropractor, physician, or quality trainer to help
you get to the root of the problem.
Don’t neglect working both sides of your body individually and don’t underestimate the power and importance or smaller movements and working the smaller muscles. They all count!
Because the “hip bone’s connected to the back bone. The back bone’s connected to the neck bone….”
Vanessa Hampton, owner of Body Balance with V and Body Balance Massage & Wellness, is a personal trainer, yoga instructor, Fitness Coach, and CrossFit coach (CrossFit Cool Springs, Brentwood). Follow her on Facebook or Instagram @bodybalancewithv @bbmassageandwellness or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.