Does Your Body Have Compensation Patterns?

Have you ever had an injury that seems to have set off a whole heap of other problems? Or do you find all of your ailments are on one side of your body? This could be because of the compensation patterns your body develops in order to cope with a certain injury, posture, or repetitive movement causing fatigue.

For example, if somebody has had some shoulder problems, they may be unable to do certain movements like they could before, like lifting their arm above their head. However, when the brain tells the arm to rise and the shoulder is unable to do that, it will compensate by over-arching the back, twisting the spine and/or shrugging the shoulder upwards to be able to complete that movement. This can lead to upper-mid back pain or injury, or overactive and tight upper trap muscles.

This principal applies to the whole body. Basically, if a certain muscle isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do, another one will take over, even if that’s not what that muscle is for.

Well, how do I tell if I have developed compensation patterns?

Some may be a bit easier to be able to tell, but to get the full picture or to see the more tricky ones may require an assessment from your trusty remedial therapist. We can find your compensation patterns in a few different ways.

  1. A postural assessment – This allows us to see if there are any muscle imbalances when you are in a relaxed position.
  2. A range of motion assessment – This can let us see if you are showing any signs of compensation patterns in specific movements, or if a decreased range of motion is causing other compensation patterns.
  3. Gait assessment – During a gait assessment, we will look at the way you walk to see if any compensation patterns are present in your everyday movement.
  4. Dynamic Posture – Here, we may look at movements such as squats or lunges to further refine where the compensation patterns are occurring during other everyday movements, sports or gym work.

So, how do we treat these?

Once we know what is causing the compensation pattern, the good news is we will then know how to fix it! If it’s being caused by an overactive or tight muscle group, we can treat that muscle group to help it relax and lengthen. If it’s caused by weakness of certain muscles or the stabilising muscles, we can prescribe exercises to strengthen them. Or if it’s being caused by a muscle imbalance, we can do a combination and lengthen one muscle group and strengthen the other, restoring the balance.

Do you think you or someone you know may have some compensation patterns? Get in touch or book an appointment with us here, we will help you get Back on Track!

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