A Jenga of problems

A Jenga of problems

When considering the body biomechanics it’s important to think about Tensegrity, this refers to the bodies ability to connect with itself and support itself. The body is both directly and indirectly affected by itself no matter what is positioned upon it.
Take the game Jenga. Imagine you have suffered an injury, the next thing the body will do is compensate around that injury, in both protection and to aid recovery. Lets say this injury is one of the Jenga blocks. We remove a Jenga block, just like at the beginning of a game and then, that block, is placed on top.
Just like the body you can’t fully remove something (unless surgery occurs). The block is just the same, you can not simply removed it, as it is replaced in a different position on top.
Now in order to restore perfect balance, that block should be replaced, however at the early stages of this game, the tower is still quite stable but not 100% and is easily overlooked.
Now the next person takes a block, this is injury number 2, they remove it and replace it to another position on top of the tower. You can see where we are going with this.
We have now created more instability and compensations ( a wobbly Jenga tower).

But this is where it gets interesting.
Most people would be advised, they need rest and / or strengthen XY and Z.
If you do strengthening exercises whilst in an unstable position, you are merely securing an unstable position.

These muscles that go on to support a unstable position also turn out to be weaker and possibly they will simply go on lock down. This means that the muscles are struggling to support the body in a position that is not quite natural, or mechanically advantageous to our natural movement.

Meaning the muscle and bodies functionality is now at a disadvantage! The ‘strengthened muscles’ around a weak structure simply hold on for dear life, to stop the situation getting worse. The problem with this approach is that if you stop or reduce the exercises that are in place to support the weakened structure then you are exposing a weakened structure and will likely experience a problem again.

This is a bad solution, and we always need to look at the body in terms of what it is doing, in order to support a problem. As bad solutions/ compensations can often result in nerve entrapments, reduced circulation and cause other muscles to then strain or be restricted.
When people complain of a problem, it is likely that they are half way through a game of Jenga already.
So now we have muscles that are weak, on lock down, and straining. Is this somewhat solution enough to help you not feel pain? maybe! BUT, it tends to be a recurrent thing and you’ll ask yourself ‘why is it that every time I do A,B or C this happens?, or every year I get this problem’
So because ABC causes XYZ , The common go to answer will be ‘I just don’t do it anymore’, whether that be a particular exercise or movement.
Why limit yourself from a healthier potential?

In simple terms, what needs to happen is to reverse the game of Jenga. However when doing this, there maybe times of further instability because the poor functioning muscles that are not doing a good/ correct job need to be removed, which exposes the body temporarily in order to recondition the correct mechanics and muscles to perform the job appropriately.

This is why a treatment modality on its own can have little effects. If someone complains of a spasmed muscle from out of know where or strained muscle from some sports, then going to get a massage, or acupuncture, or an adjustment/ manipulation on the area may be short lived and repetitive treatments are required to keep the muscle or area loose and mobile. Whereas if the area is loosened off and straight away reconditioned with corrective movement and exercise the then body is able to establish correct mechanics to sustain better longevity.

Things to consider:
Do you regularly have massages, acupuncture, treatments for particular issues associated to your training or sports?
Do you always find yourself having to stretch or mobilise the same body part?
Do you struggle with other movements or positions?

Are you aware of any other ‘weak’ links in the body?

Find out what and where the weak links are and address them appropriately and you may find the repetitive strains or muscle tensions that regularly have to be seen too, start to disappear as they have a new found level of support.

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