If you have been working on improving your mobility and continue to notice pain or stiffness - your issue may not be mobility, but actually stability.
When an area is painful, a couple things happen.
- The tissues tolerance to load is decreased. Meaning that when our body perceives a position or movement to be threatening, it will cause a pain response. Injury and pain manifest when the forces acting on the body exceed the capabilities of the tissue. When an area becomes painful, the threshold drops, and the response is - postures and positions that used to not cause pain now do.
- Our bodies cortical mapping of the area gets distorted. The homunculus, according to Wikipedia is a distorted representation of the human body, based on a neurological "map" of the areas and proportions of the brain dedicated to processing motor functions, or sensory functions, for different parts of the body.
When pain is present, the representation of that area gets distorted. This leads to lack of stability, and the perception of tightness in the area. When this happens, we have already unconsciously learned to compensate our movement patterns.
Why Isometrics Work
- Isometrics are muscle contractions that do not require actual joint movement. This allows us to activate and use muscles without increasing inflammation. This not only allows us to start to exercise without increasing someones pain, but isometrics are also a great way to help reduce pain.
- Isometric contractions can act in restoring cortical mapping. The decrease in pain levels and the afferent information going back to the brain can be enough to make temporary changes. This then opens a window of opportunity for us to continue making long term changes.
Watch the video below to watch one of my favorite glute isometric circuits that I learned from Adam Wolf in order to help restore stability of the hip and decrease low back pain.