Like most people, Dana thought exercise was good for everyone.  She joined a Personal Fitness Training Studio in order to lose
twenty pounds, improve her overall fitness level and reduce the risk factors that contribute to osteoporosis.    Although she was
sore after every workout, she believed the pain to be a kind of merit badge, an indication of how effectively she was working.
Soon she started having pains in both her knees.  Her training consisted of aggressive stretching (accomplished by her trainer
applying force to move her limbs into a position that could not be achieved by muscular contraction) and exercises which the
fitness industry refers to as Functional Training. She was encouraged to stretch at home using a towel to pull on her legs forcing
more motion at the hip joint. She found the more she stretched and worked out the more her knees hurt. Pain is part of the body’s
alarm system, so soreness after a workout should be considered an indication that tissue is unable to cope with the force being
applied by the exercise. In other words, in her quest to improve her condition, Dana was actually doing some damage.  Four
weeks after she started her fitness program she was forced to stop due to severe pain in her knees.

Dana felt fine until she started to exercise.  The exercise didn’t cause the problem, it revealed the problem and when she
continued, it added to the problem.   
Another way of looking at this…people with sensitive teeth may not have any discomfort
until they drink ice water.  The water does not cause the problem; it simply reveals that there is one.

Dana’s exercises subjected her joints to forces that they were not ready for and could not tolerate.  It is very interesting that the
fitness industry asks people to perform a variety of tests requiring strength, movement, skill, agility and flexibility to determine
where to start the exercise program.  This all happens without first checking the health and condition of the joints which are the
common denominator in all movement.  
Another way to look at this is….ask a student driver to take your car for a ride so you will
know where to start the lesson.  In a perfect world, we would all get a joint check-up before undertaking any exercise program.
Since this turns out to be impractical for most people, the next best thing is to respond to pain by having the source of it
checked rather than by trying to exercise through it.

Dana had a difficult time navigating the steps to my office.  She was walking side to side; more of a waddle than a walk.    She
had more difficulty sitting down than standing up but both were painful.   The range of motion exam revealed that Dana was not
able to rotate to her right side.  Half way through the session Dana was able to walk up and down the stairs with no pain.  By the
end of the session she was able to rotate, sit down and stand up with no pain.  She was given two specific exercises to do three
times a day that took less than three minutes to perform.  These exercises were specific to the problems found during the initial
session.  At the one week follow-up appointment, Dana was still doing well.  We followed the same process as the first session
looking for asymmetries in range of motion in the feet/ankle, knees, hips, spine, shoulders and neck and making the necessary
corrections.  Two new exercises were added after the second session.  

Once Dana’s muscles were supporting her joints, she was ready for exercise.  The exercises were designed to take Dana from
her current situation and progress her toward the activities she hoped to improve by starting her initial exercise program.
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