Thursday, July 28, 2011

Post Injury Muscle Inhibition: 101

Regardless of whether you have been injured by an acute accident or have been diligently damaging the tissue through repetitive activity, certain muscles will always get inhibited when the joint sustains some type of trauma.  Macro or Micro.

Trauma or dysfunction to the neck will allow the deep neck flexors (longus coli, longus capitus) to become inhibited.  They are your cervical stabilizers.  When they don't pull their weight, you're looking at the scalenes and levator scapula becoming tight.

Shoulder trauma will almost certainly bring about inhibition of the subscapularis.  Subscap is one of the 4 rotatore cuff muscles.  Often the other rotatore cuff muscles (teres minor, infraspinatous, suprasinatous) will become tight.

Low back dysfunction/trauma will shut off the deep multifidi muscles.  We are learning more and more about this muscle.  It was once thought that it had rotatory capability.  We now know it's primarily flexion/extension and that its primary roll is proprioception.  Sometimes the errectors will tighten to stop movement.

I also see lots of glute max inhibition with lower back pain.  It's hard to say if it was there before the injury though.  Needless, it needs to be addressed after low back dysfunction.

Knee trauma is always followed by the inhibition of the vastus medialis oblique.  VMO for short.  This little tear drop shaped muscle plays a healthy roll in patellar tracking and in proprioception.  It will call on the muscles of the pes anserine to tighten up to help out with medial stability.

Ankle trauma will have peroneal muscle inhibition.  This guy is part of your lateral stabilizing unit.  It also has a big roll in proprioception.  When you feel like you have "weak ankles" this muscle isn't stabilizing you.

You may wonder why your body automatically inhibits certain muscles.  The answer is it's trying to save your joint.  If it doesn't provide the information and stability to the joint, it thinks you will hopefully stay off it.  

When you continue to use it, that's when the onion of compensation starts to grow.  Other muscles get tight.  That's why when you are working on someone or being worked on, you fix one thing, and another thing shows up.  Pealing the onion back to get to the original problem.  You constantly stretch a muscle that in reality is staying tight to help you.  So understand that stretching something that is tight, may in fact be doing more damage then help.

These are the main guys I see with joint trauma and weakness.  Next week I will go over some recovery strategies I use to help break the compensation patterns.

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