As a personal trainer my favorite movement pattern to assess a new client is a squat. It is one of the most technically advanced movements there is and also one of the most telling of a person’s instability, weakness and strengths. How often do you see someone squatting only partially? When a person is sitting in their toes or heels and not the flat of their foot. The knees collapsing inwards or too far outwards. Or from behind when an observer can see their hips sway to one side. The famous “butt wink” in a deep squat when the pelvis tips forward to accommodate the depth of the squat. Also one of the most common is when the client drops their chest as they lower down so the movement of the bar is no longer in a straight, safe line. All of these and more are telltale signs of a primary issue not being addressed. So many things come into play with your squat such as your proprioceptive system, your knee stability, hip alignment and most importantly your spinal health. Because the vertebral column bears the majority of your bodies weight, especially the lumbar spine (the lower back), your spinal health is paramount to a perfect squat.
A perfect squat may not be important for everyone, but when it comes to being healthy and active your movement patterns should be of considerable importance. When speaking of a movement pattern that has gone awry the most often used technique is the “top down” approach. Basically the proximal joint is affecting the stability and integrity of the closest distal joint. If you have a knee stability issue are you sure it’s not your hip? If you have a hip issue are you sure it’s not your spinal alignment? Whatever your game is, whether you are a high powered executive, a weekend warrior or a superstar athlete your spinal health is the core of most primary restrictions in your movements. With an unhealthy spine, misalignment, hip & pelvis integrity, knee instability and poor movement patterns are just the tip of the iceberg for the issues that may be seen in the future.
The determining factor of whether you should see a spinal specialist should not wait until you have injured it or feel pain. I’m not sure about you but when I feel pain I will often ignore it until it gets bad enough that I can’t lift anymore! Not a recommendation for anyone who takes their health seriously. In review of back pain it is so common the statistics are morose, at best. “In 2007-2008, about 1 in 10 Canadians aged 12 to 44, an estimated 1.5 million people, experience chronic pain.” The side effects of chronic back pain include mood and anxiety disorders, depression, sleep problems, poor self- perceived health and disability. Aside from having a perfect squat, understanding your spine and actively taking care of it can have serious health benefits and add to a pain-free life.
Why live your life as a statistic? Our Doctors of Chiropractic are accepting new patients and their expertise extend from chiropractic care, myofascial release, graston techniques, acupuncture, dry needling, corrective exercise and rehabilitation. Our other great team members include Sam Medina who is a certified personal trainer who can also provide an in depth fitness assessment or exercise program.
We are all under the same roof!
-Written by Lara Schamotta