The Lack of Exercise

Muscles and ligaments are stressed throughout life; constructed to adjust to varying levels of activity. But, when they are exposed to higher-than-usual levels of stress, they are prone to short-term injury or long-term damage.

However, what many people fail to realize is, problems also develop when these tissues aren’t exposed to the sufficient levels of stress, needed to maintain functional health. The levels are placed on the following scale:

• Paralysis: where muscles and ligaments are not used at all and their ability to function has diminished.
• Immobilization: where use is temporarily put on hold and muscle strength and size diminishes over time.
• Sedentarism: This is when muscles and ligaments are only minimally used, which leads to obesity, deconditioning, hypertension, and poor fitness, common in all age groups.
• Normal use: which varies widely. In this level, all of the muscles and ligaments are used for daily activities.
• Strenuous use: which includes regular exercise, participation in recreational sports and leading an active lifestyle.
• Progressive overload: which consists of people, such as athletes, who continuously push their bodies to the limit to improve performance and build strength.

Overuse and damage can occur in any of the above groups, at varying degrees. When muscles and ligaments are stressed, they respond by repairing and strengthening; but if the overload is frequent, damage may result. Trauma, or sudden stress, to a ligament begins with pain, swelling and results in a degree of lost function.

Injuries and damage need proper treatment in order to heal rapidly.

Rest is important; which includes days of immobilization of the damaged area, followed by reintroduction of movement and activity. Reactivation is also necessary — which consists of exercise and guidance, which your Chiropractor can provide.

SOURCE: “Adjunctive Therapies to the Adjustment: Ligament and Muscle Stress,” Dynamic Chiropractic, March 26, 2001, Vol. 19, No. 7, pp. 16-17.