Strength Versus Function

By Trevor Chetcuti on 17 Jul 2015
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Pain is one of the biggest expenses to our health care system. A large part of this comes from structural issues such as low back pain.

By now most people have heard of the importance of ‘core strength’. Our core is a group of muscles that sit around our waste that help hold us together. This core is responsible for maintaining the structural integrity of our lower spine. When it fails we lose support increasing the risk of injury and long term, potentially leads to degeneration.

Applied Kinesiology is a profession that has dedicated itself to trying to understand the muscle inhibition phenomena and the effects it has on the human body.

An often forgotten about or missed aspect of muscle health is muscle function. Activities that strengthen our core, such as polities, are designed to increase muscle strength by increasing the size of muscle fibres. But what if those muscles weren’t ‘functioning’ correctly limiting their ability to contract in the first place…?

Every muscle has a series of nerves that supply electrical signals from the brain informing them when they should or should not be contracting. If these signals fail the muscle loses the ability to contract. This is what is seen in stroke or paralysis.

A less severe, ‘functional’ variant of this is actually quite common. Many different professions have different names for this but in Applied Kinesiology we refer to these as ‘inhibited’ muscles. These are muscles that have a functional (non-pathological) decrease in their ability to contract. The result is a reduced ability to provide support.

There are many reasons muscle inhibition can occur. Hormonal disturbance, structural imbalances, cranial rhythm changes even nutritional issues have all been shown to influence muscle inhibition.

Applied Kinesiology is a profession that has dedicated itself to trying to understand the muscle inhibition phenomena and the effects it has on the human body. There is research constantly occurring looking for associations with inhibition and scientific validation of these associations.

We have observed those who have lower back pain that is relieved by core strengthening that returns quickly on stopping the regime are often the ones suffering with muscle inhibition patterns. Strengthening the surrounding muscles helps provide additional support hiding the muscle weakness, however, as soon as the exercise is stopped and muscle tone returns to normal the inhibition is again exposed and the pain returns.

So whilst a weak core may be the cause of your back pain, strengthening muscles may provide some relief but true correction may require specific treatment to muscle inhibition patterns.


About the Author

Dr Trevor has a passion for helping people that goes beyond what most people expect. He has a knack for getting to issues quickly and an amazing knowledge for all things health and wellbeing. With extensive study in areas such as Physiology, Nutrition, Supplementation, Applied Kinesiology, Neuro Emotional Technique and Chiropractic, Dr Trevor's skills at working with a wide range of health and performance issues have become widely respected.

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