Why you need to be keeping your body strong?

Posture

The musculoskeletal system has a primary role: It provides your body with structure and movement, and it protects your internal organs – the heart, brain, liver, and kidneys – from injury by acting as a physical shield. But your body is not only a collection of systems that each have their roles. Instead, the different systems are intricately interrelated and what affects one system affects the whole.

An imbalance in your physical body can also lead to imbalances in your organs. So, let’s talk about how and what you can do to keep your body strong.

1. What is the musculoskeletal system?

The musculoskeletal system is a complex, interconnected network controlled by the nervous system. It’s comprised of the body:

  • Bones/skeleton
  • Muscles
  • Tendons
  • Ligaments
  • Joints
  • Other connective tissue

The skeleton provides a robust and supportive foundation to the network of muscles, tendons, fascia, ligaments, joints, and other connective tissue, which work together to support your weight and provide movement.

musculoskeletal system

2. How Does Physical Pain Develop?

There are hundreds of potential reasons you may develop musculoskeletal pain. Still, some of the most common are related to injury, ageing, and disease/conditions.

Injury 

A myriad of injuries can affect the musculoskeletal system. They can result from falls, jerking movements, postural imbalance, and direct trauma that cause fractures, sprains, and dislocations. 

Postural imbalance  

Poor posture regularly leads to musculoskeletal pain such as carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis, chronic back pain, or sciatica. In addition, the compensations your body makes to accommodate these injuries and imbalances can lead to pain in a whole new area of the body.

Ageing

As we age, we naturally lose muscle mass and bone density. 

Decreased muscle mass affects our stability and ability to ward off injury. In contrast, reduced bone density, like osteoporosis, makes us more susceptible to bone fractures. Cartilage also begins to wear down as we age, causing osteoarthritis pain, stiffness, and a limited range of motion. 

Disease Conditions

Arthritis is the most common condition that causes musculoskeletal pain in people of all ages. Osteo and Rheumatoid cause inflammation, pain, stiffness, and a limited range of motion. Other conditions such as gout, fibromyalgia, muscular dystrophy, and scoliosis can also lead to chronic pain.

3. What affects one system affects the whole?

Musculoskeletal imbalance leads to lower mobility, affecting other systems in the body, such as the lymphatic and digestive systems, which rely on the body’s movement to help dispose of waste and toxins.

The respiratory system is also affected, often in the form of shorter breaths and less oxygenation due to postural issues and immobility. This, in turn, affects the cardiovascular system, which must work harder to oxygenate the body – not to mention areas of compression from sitting, which can lead to high blood pressure and even arterial damage. 

Researchers at the University of California have even discovered a connection between sedentary behaviour and thinning regions in the brain that is critical to new memory formation.

4. How to look after your musculoskeletal system, so it looks after you?

One thing is for sure, the chronic aches and pains that develop and linger in your body don’t usually go away on their own. Instead, they need help in the form of a health-focussed lifestyle, a conscious effort to reduce inflammation, and restorative movement and activity.

Maintaining overall general health is the best way to keep your musculoskeletal system resilient to the insults of daily life. 

Eating a well-balanced diet, participating in regular, moderate exercise, managing stress, and getting plenty of sleep every night all contribute to a healthy musculoskeletal system, as one does not smoke and maintains a healthy weight. Some additional guidelines include:

Stand up every half hour

Research tells us that people who are sitting in the same position for less than 30 minutes at a time live longer! During the workday, meetings and deadlines don’t always offer the freedom to move but sitting in one position for prolonged periods significantly impacts your health beyond the inevitable stiff back. Set a timer on your phone as a helpful reminder to stand up regularly for a purposeful moment of movement.

Do regular weight-bearing exercise.

While aerobic exercise such as walking is a great way to oxygenate the body and does help prevent the loss of bone mass that can come with aging, it doesn’t increase your musculoskeletal strength.

Strength and resistance exercises are the keys to increasing bone density, including lifting weights, swimming, and cycling. The weight exerted by the exercise needs to be greater than what you would typically experience with everyday use to make a difference in bone density and increase the natural lubrication of the joints. Keep in mind that weight-bearing exercise strengthens the area you are working out, making a regular full-body routine important.

weight bearing exercise

Maintain a strong core

The system of muscles on the torso’s front, sides and back are collectively referred to as the core. These muscles are directly responsible for maintaining stability in the centre of your body and supporting daily movements (such as walking, sitting, carrying your groceries, and playing sports). When these core muscles become weak, the musculoskeletal system is more prone to poor posture, inadequate biomechanics, and ultimately, injuries and falls.

In addition to preventing injury and chronic pain, maintaining a solid core promotes healthy digestion and immunity by enhancing blood circulation.

Keeping your core strong isn’t all about sit-ups; a deeper and more holistic approach to core strengthening is recommended. Pilates, for example, is a great way to maintain a strong core and is an accessible form of exercise for people of every age and fitness level. 

Practice Functional Movement

Functional movement refers to exercising using activities that purposefully reflect real-life biomechanics. This includes everything from bending down to pick up a ball, turning quickly because you heard a crash, to simply walking up a flight of stairs. Functional movement exercises encompass all the body’s movements and thousands of variations of the forms it can take. 

Functional movement exercises are designed to counteract the physical decline and bad habits that sedentary modern living tends to cause and to strengthen the everyday functions required of the musculoskeletal system. They can be done at home and at your own pace. 

Keep inflammation at bay with supplements.

Several nutritional supplements have been researched for their role in promoting healthy joint function and their anti-inflammatory effects on the body, including:

  • Fish oil
  • Krill oil
  • Curcumin/turmeric
  • Glucosamine
  • Chondroitin
  • Boswellia serrata extract
  • SAMe / S-adenosyl-L-methionine
  • Devil’s claw
  • MSM / Methylsulfonylmethane

I can help

Do you experience musculoskeletal weakness, pain or inflammation? Are you encountering health problems you think may be due to your sedentary lifestyle or a previous injury? As a functional medicine practitioner/ chiropractor, I can run the proper tests and create a tailored plan to decrease inflammation, manage pain, and improve musculoskeletal health.

So book an appointment with us/me/our clinic, and together we will get to the root of the problem, so you can start living a healthier and more vital life.

Resources & References

  • Arendt-Nielsen, L., Fernández-de-Las-Peñas, C., & Graven-Nielsen, T. (2011). Basic aspects of musculoskeletal pain: from acute to chronic pain. The Journal of manual & manipulative therapy, 19(4), 186–193. 
  • Patterns of Sedentary Behaviour and Mortality in U.S. Middle-Aged and Older Adults – Keith M. Diaz, PhD, Virginia J. Howard, PhD, Brent Hutto, MSPH et al., Annals of Internal Medicine, October 2017
  • Dinc, E., Kilinc, B. E., Bulat, M., Erten, Y. T., & Bayraktar, B. (2017). Effects of special exercise programs on functional movement screen scores and injury prevention in preprofessional young football players. Journal of exercise rehabilitation, 13(5), 535–540. https://doi.org/10.12965/jer.1735068.534
  • Henrotin Y, Mobasheri A. Natural Products for Promoting Joint Health and Managing Osteoarthritis. Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2018 Sep 19;20(11):72. doi: 10.1007/s11926-018-0782-9. PMID: 30232562.
  • Lewis, R., Gómez Álvarez, C. B., Rayman, M., Lanham-New, S., Woolf, A., & Mobasheri, A. (2019). Strategies for optimising musculoskeletal health in the 21st century. BMC musculoskeletal disorders, 20(1), 164. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12891-019-2510-7
  • Miller SB. An Overview of the Musculoskeletal System. In: Walker HK, Hall WD, Hurst JW, editors. Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations. 3rd edition. Boston: Butterworths; 1990. Chapter 158.
  • Murphy, A. C., Muldoon, S. F., Baker, D., Lastowka, A., Bennett, B., Yang, M., & Bassett, D. S. (2018). Structure, function, and control of the human musculoskeletal network. PLoS biology, 16(1), e2002811. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2002811

Dr. Matt le Roux is a man of many talents: chiropractor, sports scientist and functional medicine practitioner. His science-based approach motivates him to explore the synergy between health and performance that changes the way you move, live, train, think, and eat.

Dr Matt le Roux

Chiropractor, Functional medicine practitioner

Need a chiropractor?

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This