We often preach that the primary cause of arthritis is due to over use and years of abusing your body. This makes perfect sense. The main cause of joint pain and arthritis is due to a lack of cartilage, or the lack of that rubbery substance that cushions your joints. Without cartilage in your joints your bones may begin to rub against each other and you may develop inflammation. This is extremely painful and abusing your body for years is what often times causes the breakdown of cartilage. However, there have been studies that show that this isn’t always the case.
The human body is an extremely complicated and interconnected structure. All of the body’s systems need to be interconnected and dependent on each other for optimum performance. For example, we know that our heart, which is part of the human circulatory system, won’t function and will not beat unless our brain, which is part of the nervous system, tells the heart to beat. Our musculoskeletal system works the same way. For our muscles and bones to grow and to remain healthy they are dependent on all of the other systems to develop fully.
With this in mind it’s easy to see how something as simple as knee pain from cartilage wear and tear may be a result of something besides abusing our body or injury. Let’s take a look at how your neck muscles can affect your knee joints, even though they seem completely unrelated!
Weak Neck and Knee Pain
According to www.anatomytrains.com, Tom Myers has a deep understanding of the deep core stabilizing system, which explains why our weak neck muscles may cause pain in our legs.
In this image the deep core muscles that are all dependent on each other are in red. According to breakingmuscle.com the deep core line is the primary stabilizing system of the body. Dysfunction in this system leads to compensation patterns, energy leaks, and decreased force production and power output. It’s the master cylinder for your engine. Envision a car with an eight-cylinder engine only firing on four cylinders. It has the power capacity, but can’t unleash it. Athletes often try to get more power out of their engine rather than first ensuring all eight of their cylinders are firing.
A more simplistic way to understand this is to know that if a certain part of your body’s stabilizing muscles are weak they will rob power and recruit other muscles to compensate for the weaker muscles. Since the stabilizing muscles are so important to the body’s everyday function there has to be compromise. Just because you have weak neck muscles doesn’t mean that your other muscles don’t have to pick up the slack.
What exactly does this mean for other stabilizer muscles? Since other muscles such as your hamstrings have become compromised to make up for the weak neck muscles, now your hamstrings have become tighter. You may continue on for years with weak neck muscles and this will eventually lead to long-term problems besides just tight hamstrings.
From Weak Neck Muscles to Knee Arthritis
The hamstrings are the muscles that bend the knee and help you to move the leg behind your body. The hamstrings are used constantly when you walk, run, jump and bend your legs to sit. When you have super tight hamstrings you may begin to develop movement patterns that aren’t supposed to occur. These constant movements may begin to make your knee unstable, which can lead to injury, knee pain and with long-term instability, may even develop into something more serious such as arthritis.
Overall, your weak neck muscles causes instability so your hamstrings are recruited to pick up the slack. This recruitment results in tighter hamstring muscles, which may lead to knee instability and eventually arthritis.
How to Get Help
Weak neck muscles can be an issue that you don’t even realize you have. After all, not too many people focus intently on making sure their neck muscles aren’t weak and I don’t think anyone focuses on the fact that their stabilizer muscles all need to be strong.
It’s incredibly difficult to avoid musculoskeletal issues. There are so many variables and in many situations you may be eating healthy and exercising, but you may still develop arthritis and joint problems. However, there’s no reason to be alarmed. If you are reading this because you have joint pain you don’t have to assume surgery is the only option.
The Chiropractic Athletic Center in York, Pa have a non-surgical solution. If you are experiencing joint pain please call theChiropractic Athletic Center in York, Pa 717-767-4151
- Perry Nickelson . Are Your Weak Neck Muscles Making Your Hamstrings Tight? [Blog Post] Retrieved from http://breakingmuscle.com/mobility-recovery/are-your-weak-neck-muscles-making-your-hamstrings-tight.