Schedule Your Free Consultation, Now

All posts in “Preventive Care”

Meniscus Injury & Prevention

Meniscus Injury & Prevention

Author: Achieve Wellness Staff

A torn meniscus is one of the most common knee injuries, with more than 3 million reported cases annually in the US. The Meniscus is a C-shaped disc of cartilage that cushions the femur and tibia at the knee joint. An injury can occur when there is a tear in the cartilage due to incorrect movement or improper weight distribution. When this injury happens the cartilage cannot support the weight between femur and tibia. An example of this would be twisting or rotating the knee while keeping your foot planted. Elderly and those who play sports are at an increased risk for injury. Symptoms can include pain or swelling around the knee joint, a clicking noise, and/or inability to bear weight on the affected side.

There are training and strengthening techniques that can be used to help prevent and also heal a meniscus tear. Assessments can be performed to see if there is pain when certain movements are performed involving the knee joint. If a tear has happened, you need to strengthen and recondition the muscles around it in order to prevent the injury from worsening and to help it heal. Stability, core, and balance training would help assist in preventing a tear from happening. When performing exercises, keeping the feet straight and the knees in line with the feet will help ensure the knee is moving correctly. Focusing on good form and posture will help maintain proper movement patterns which will decrease the risk of injury.

Share This:

Relative Flexibility & Muscle Balance

Relative Flexibility & Muscle Balance

Author: Phil Gawlak, NASM-CPT, CES, GFS, FNS


Relative flexibility is the result of muscular imbalances; without exception, for every muscular contraction there is a muscular relaxation or extension. When one of the pair of muscles is stronger, shorter, weaker or longer than its counter muscle you get muscular imbalances.

There are proven methods for creating balance within the body’s muscular system, the first step is to be evaluated by a fitness professional who is skilled in recognizing motion and posture distortions, these distortions are muscular imbalances that need to be corrected. With the knowledge of what distortions you have, you now can begin targeting specific muscles with the appropriate myo-fascial release techniques (foam rolling), stretching and strengthening exercises. The process of eliminating muscle imbalances takes time, with patience and consistency the muscles return to a normal state allowing for proper range of motion. There are many activities that actually promote healthy muscle balance within the body; Tai Chi and Yoga are prime examples.

Muscle balance is defined as the “relationship between both the strength and the length of muscles and groups of muscles as they cross over joints”. This definition leads us to the conclusion that it is possible for muscles to have any or a combination of the following:

*Increased tightness leading to a reduction in joint motion and stiffness
*Decreased tightness leading to a increase in joint motion and instability
*Increased muscle strength leading to internal joint position issues
*Decreased muscle strength leading to poor joint control.

Muscle imbalances are also seen between the larger outer muscles that control major movement of a joint and the smaller internal muscles that are more responsible for deep stability and control. Joints in the body have a complex inter-relationship between these internal and external muscles that can lead to problems if these relationships become unbalanced.

It is vital that all health enthusiasts appreciate that fitness is not all about training the larger muscles and having a great set of “pecs and delts” – as effective training is about balancing your body with a variety of exercises and movements that focus equal attention to the smaller muscles tasked with maintaining stable joint posture as is placed on the larger and more obvious muscle groups.

Remember – if you are at all concerned about muscle imbalance issues see your Physiotherapist or Corrective Exercise Specialist BEFORE symptoms of pain and injury appear.

Share This:

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Author: Phil Gawlak, NASM-CPT, FNS, CES, GFS

There are two patterns of breathing we humans perform; Chest (Thoracic) and Diaphragmatic(stomach breathing). Chest breathing is a sign of muscle imbalance and leads to poor performance, recovery and sleep quality. To find out which pattern you use to breathe, try this simple test: place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach and take a deep breath. If your chest expands and your shoulders raise, then you are chest breathing; and if your belly expands, then you are using your diaphragm correctly.

The diaphragm is a large, dome-shaped muscle located at the base of the lungs. When the diaphragm contracts, in conjunction with the intercostal muscles (muscles between and around the ribs), it lowers the pressure in the thoracic cavity, drawing air into the lungs. When exhaling, the diaphragm relaxes along with the intercostal muscles, allowing air to leave. Air may be forced out by increasing abdominal pressure using the abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles help move the diaphragm and give you more power to empty your lungs. The diaphragm also has an important role in stabilizing the core. It forms the top of the core “box,” working with the abdominal, low back, and pelvic floor muscles to stabilize the spine for movement.

Breathing and posture share an important link. There are a series of body posture syndromes identified by Dr. Vladimir Janda, known as Janda’s Crossed Syndromes. The syndrome that ties directly to breathing dysfunction is known as upper crossed syndrome; tight traps, shrugged shoulders, rounded back, forward head and a caved-in chest are primary indicators of this syndrome.

Lymphatic drainage is also among the benefits of diaphragmatic breathing. More than half of all lymph nodes in the human body are located just under the diaphragm; stomach breathing stimulates the cleansing of the lymph nodes by creating a negative pressure pulling the lymph through the lymphatic system. Chest breathing can cause lymphatic stagnation in the stomach, pancreas, spleen, liver, kidneys, large and small colon, and other organs.

Diaphragmatic breathing offers many healthy benefits to us, including and certainly not limited to: better sleep, gas exchange, waste elimination, movement, athletic performance and calmness. Make better breathing a part of your health and wellness goal; you will be rewarded many times over for your efforts.

Share This: