It doesn’t take long working as a physical therapist to start tallying every time you hear the words, “my doctor told me I have the worst ________ he has ever seen.”  You start hearing from patients that they were told their non-painful hip, knee, or shoulder, is worse than their painful side.  Followed by the prophecy that despite having no pain, they will need a joint replacement eventually.  This language can make even the most exercise-minded people fear movement and cause more problems than it solves. A Biomechanical Assessment by a physical therapist can help you make sense of these diagnoses and translate them into a clear path forward.

In previous blog posts, we have discussed how pain and arthritis or “degenerative changes” in your body do not always equal pain.  Wait, if the appearance of degeneration in your joint doesn’t automatically mean pain, is a Biomechanical Assessment worth it?

Biomechanical Assessment Body Mechanics

Is There Value in a Biomechanical Assessment?

Let’s start by panning out and describing your joints through the life span.  We start with very smooth joint surfaces and relatively high levels of joint mobility; some kids have more and some have less mobility.  As we age our joints get less mobile.

When you compare an 8-year-old kid to their grandfather, you will likely notice these observable differences in their mobility.  Grandpa might be slouched over or look like he is leaning to one side or another.  Maybe his steps are shorter because his knees don’t fully extend.

Any asymmetry, genetic variation, or past injury gets amplified as we age by reduced mobility and strength, resulting in potentially significant impairments later in life.  While it might not be painful, these variations can evolve into impairments that gradually limit your ability to participate in activities that we often take for granted.

Now let’s zoom back in to focus on where you are in this timeline.  Whether you are a young mom trying to keep up with kids or a professional sitting at their desk all day, a Biomechanical Assessment by a physical therapist can identify asymmetries, genetic variations, past injuries, and current lifestyle factors. With these obstacles identified, a physical therapist can create a plan of action for addressing these modifiable factors including mobility, range of motion, and strength.

Starting a new exercise routine with a Biomechanical Assessment by your physical therapist can help reduce the risk of injury.  There is always an uptick in injuries around New Year’s as people kick into gear, often over-stressing muscles, tendons, and ligaments that result in trips to the doctor or hospital.  Around New Year’s Resolution time, 459,978 people went to the emergency room for exercise-related injuries.

 

Family Gait Analysis

Keep it in Perspective

Zoom out every once in a while.  A great review about knee osteoarthritis showed recreational runners had a lower occurrence of knee OA compared to competitive runners, but also a sedentary control group.  Interpretation- Yes, you can do too much, but not doing enough can be just as detrimental to your joints, not to mention your health.

Think about your older relatives, especially those that share similar body characteristics.  Did they have issues later in life?  Did they start slouching over as they aged?  Do you notice that relatives that are physically active age better than sedentary relatives?  Are you starting to notice that you aren’t as mobile as you used to be?  Is getting up from the floor becoming surprisingly more difficult?  If so, we are here to help you set yourself on a path to actively engage in the health and resiliency of your body by calling for a Biomechanical Assessment.

Conclusion

The short answer is yes; a Biomechanical Assessment by a physical therapist can help you make sense of a scary diagnosis and help you find a clear path forward. You can do too much if you have an impairment, but not doing enough can be just as detrimental to your joints, not to mention your health.

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About Live Life Physiotherapy

At Live Life Physiotherapy, we are invested in your long game.  We offer coaching packages to help with accountability and progress towards your goals. Live Life Physiotherapy provides an COVID-19-friendly alternative to traveling to a physical therapy clinic, through mobile physical therapy. We provide outpatient care to San Diego, La Mesa, El Cajon, Santee, and the surrounding area.

Outpatient physical therapy includes but isn’t limited to; telehealth physical therapy, rehabilitation physical therapy, labral tears, sciatica, low back pain, elderly fall prevention, orthopedic and sports physical therapy. Reach out today so we can help you Live Life, the way you want to live it.