Are you wondering why you can’t move like you used to? ~ Reactivate Muskoka has some answers

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How dysfunctional movement patterns lead to injury and what you can do about them

One of the most common reasons people visit their doctor is to report that their body isn’t moving naturally the way it used to.   They notice limitations in movement and function due to pain, or there is a mechanical symptom like a clicking, locking, or grinding of their joints, muscles, tendons or ligaments. Simply put, their body won’t or can’t move like it used to, or how they want it to.

What happens when a movement is not “natural” any more

Even though movement comes naturally and happens without much conscious thought, many structural and mechanical elements need to work together in order for a harmonious movement to occur. If balancing forces are altered at one joint or muscle group that is involved in a movement, there is asymmetric loading on a joint, which puts more weight on one side of it than the other during the movement. When that movement is repeated hundreds of thousands of times for months or years, then bones, tendons, ligaments and other skeletal tissues get abnormally stressed. This results in a dysfunctional movement and abnormal wear and tear on joint and the surrounding tissues that try to keep that joint balanced.

What is a “dysfunctional movement”?

A dysfunctional movement is one that is less efficient, uses muscles and other skeletal structures to deal with abnormal and altered forces that compensate in the background while we continue to do a movement that, to us, seems normal.

The study of biomechanics, which is the physics of human movement, is deeply rooted in the fact that our bodies are, at the end of the day, machines. We have pulleys with muscles and tendons that pull on bones with joints between the bones. Each of these joints bend back and forth, or swivel in multiple directions, and this lets us perform an incredible number of movements to complete tasks or move in various directions

Over time, these dysfunctional movement patterns place abnormal loads and stresses on muscles and tissues that aren’t designed to manage these loads. As a result, these muscles and tissues get injured, stop working well and our bodies feel it as pain.

What can be done to fix the dysfunctional movement pattern?

Often, when faced with structural symptoms, a person may look for a medication to fix the problem, but the medication simply masks the symptom, and doesn’t do anything to correct the dysfunctional movement.

Alternatively, a person may go to an allied health professional (physiotherapist, chiropractor, massage therapist, osteopath, or any other number of professionals) and look to them for treatments of some sort to help them with their symptoms.

However, the fundamental issue, which is the dysfunctional movement pattern that led to the symptoms, still exists despite a client’s best attempts to remedy their problem without clearly knowing what the actual diagnosis is other than something hurts or doesn’t work properly.

Introducing the concept of Movement Based Medicine and Rehabilitation

Movement Based Medicine and Rehabilitation (MBMR) looks for the root cause(s) of the dysfunctional movement, then builds an exercise-based, progressive treatment plan for teaching the body how to move properly again. No fancy machines. No cool gadgets or gizmos. Your body is your rehabilitation machine.

Simply by teaching the muscles, through MBMR techniques, to work together again as a collaborative unit, movement is improved. Joint movements are smoother, quieter and less erratic. Small subtle changes and adjustments are made to result in smooth movement rather than large jerking “tug-of-war” motions by supporting muscles. This, in turn, results in the joint and the supporting structures around the joint being stressed less. There is less “wear and tear” on the joint surface and less stress on the supporting structures which, over time, would have led to arthritis and chronic pain.

Take a look at this video to see an example of a dysfunctional movement (part one) and a more balanced and functional movement of the shoulder looks like.

Over time, MBMR teaches the client to recruit the proper muscles to stabilize a joint. This makes an incredible difference in the stresses that a joint and the surrounding structures (ligaments and tendons) experience. Less wear and tear means less pain. Less pain means more function. More function means that clients can enjoy life more.

Why Reactivate Muskoka is different

At Reactivate Muskoka, we have a comprehensive team of rehabilitation physicians (Sport and Exercise Medicine Physicians and Orthopedic Surgeon) and allied health professionals, such as Chiropractic and Massage, all under one roof. See who is a part of our team by clicking here.

As a team, we work collaboratively with our clients to identify the underlying dysfunctional movement.   Then we use the MBMR techniques to get our clients’ bodies moving the way they are supposed to.

If a technique or movement-based exercise prescription is not yielding expected results, we work as a team to dig deeper, figure out why and make necessary adjustments. We work together with our clients to get them back to moving like they used to.

Since this is our first article in the Professionally Speaking section of the Doppler, we wanted to say hello and introduce our services.   Think about what your body is telling you, and see how we can help you live life to its fullest. Come see what Movement Based Medicine and Rehabilitation is all about, and let us Reactivate you.

To book an appointment with one of our Chiropractors or our Massage Therapist, you can visit our website and book your appointment online at a time that is convenient for you. Alternatively, you can call our office at 705-789-7600 to speak to our front staff. We are located at 367 Muskoka Road 3 North in Suite 5, right across the road from the hospital.


Dr. Rich Trenholm

Dr. Trenholm moved to Muskoka in 2003, after completing his residency in Family Medicine, Obstetrics and Emergency Medicine at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.
After rediscovering his love for being active through the sport of triathlon, he decided to incorporate this personal passion with a professional interest in Sports Medicine. This exciting field of medicine builds on his strong foundation in anatomy and biomechanics that he gained from completing a Masters of Science in Kinesiology at McMaster University.
Dr. Trenholm’s strength is looking at each patient as a unique structure of moving parts, in which movement at one part will affect movements at another. By looking at the human body as a puzzle full of complex movements, Dr. Trenholm works hard to determine a diagnosis of what is going on and put a plan in place of how to best get patients back moving again and enjoying life to its fullest.
Dr. Trenholm is a former national board member of the Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine (CASEM), is the Chair of CASEM’s Endurance Sports Medicine special interest group, and is actively involved in research in the field of Sport and Exercise medicine. He actively participates in local and national sporting events providing medical support as a physician, and recently returned from the 2019 Para Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.
A referral from a client’s Primary Care Provider is required to see Dr. Trenholm as his services are covered through OHIP. Alternatively, if clients are already seeing an Allied Health Professional (Physiotherapist, Chiropractor, Massage Therapist, Naturopath, Osteopath), the Allied Health Professional can ask that a consultation request be made by a client’s Primary Care Provider.