Having Trouble with Core Activation?

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If you are constantly stretching, ‘rolling out’ muscles and doing core exercises without any relief from back, hip, knee and ankle issues, perhaps there is a missing piece to the puzzle. Pelvic misalignment or joint dysfunction is a common problem that can cause these types of problems, but too often it is overlooked.

In our practice, we call the pelvis ‘The big secret to a weak core’, as dysfunction of these joints can directly inhibit (weaken) core muscles like the glutes.

The importance of the pelvis

The pelvis is made up of three bones: the sacrum and two ilium bones.

The sacroiliac joint (or SI joint) is the joint between the sacrum and the ilium bones of the pelvis, which are connected by strong ligaments. These ligaments (and muscles) around the sacroiliac joints house a powerhouse of nerve endings, conveying important information to the brain about your body’s position (proprioception), balance and movement. It makes sense, that a stable pelvis helps maintain core and spinal stability within its environment.

Symptoms of SacroIliac Joint dysfunction

Symptoms experienced with SI joint dysfunction commonly include:

  • low back pain/stiffness
  • groin pain
  • knee, leg, ankle pain/stiffness
  • ‘catch’ in the hip
  • knee wants to ‘give out’
  • ankle ‘turns easily’
  • mimic disc herniation with radicular symptoms (1)

Ligament-muscle relationship

The sacroiliac joints of the pelvis are held together by ligaments. If the ligaments overstretch or tear, even slightly, the bones separate or can become hypermobile (they move too much).

Damage to the ligaments can cause the nerves to activate a ligamento-muscular reflex (2), which tightens the muscles that would pull the joint together, and inhibits the muscles that would pull it apart. Eventually, the muscles can become tight around the pelvis, with inhibited muscles becoming painful due to reduced blood circulation. Muscles connected further down the leg can start to compensate for these weakened muscles around the pelvis, contracting in the same way, causing muscle tensions down the leg and/or up the spine.

The misconception about stretching

Our first inclination is to stretch tight muscles! But a common mistake is to think that relieving pain resolves the condition, when in reality, it may actually worsen the underlying injury.

Stretching can further separate the sacroiliac joint, which is potentially already moving too much, causing a vicious cycle of short-term relief and the return of tight, sore muscles.

How can Blue Align Chiropractic help?

We use three important treatment strategies to correct this type of pelvic misalignment. The goal is to stabilise the joint motion and allow the ligaments to heal.

  1. Techniques which stabilise and balance the pelvic joints
  2. Cold laser to help heal the ligaments
  3. Holistic exercises that build and restore endurance through the pelvis and body. This needs to be done in a manner that does not overload the muscles around the pelvis.

Static stretching is often avoided during the healing period.

For more information on this topic, please call our team on 07-3357 3366.

Sacro Occipital Technique (SOT)

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  • Thorough Initial Consultation & Report of Findings (first two visits, normally $165) at our Stafford location.
  • Full Postural Assessment
  • X-rays if clinically indicated (covered by Medicare)
  • Chiropractic Treatments (T&Cs apply)
  • Specific Exercise & Ergonomic Advice

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(1) Chamberger, The Malalignment Syndrome: Implications for Medicine & Sport, 2002, Elsevier
(2) Neuromuscular control of lumbar instability following static work of various loads,” Davidson et al, Muscle & Nerve, 2009:39

DISCLAIMER: All content is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.

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