Questions Answered by Scott Elder
How do muscular deficiencies and joint instabilities affect our quality of life?
That’s a great question, first we have to acknowledge that muscular deficiencies lead to joint instabilities. You cannot have one without the other. The muscles on one side of a joint contract to create movement patterns, contracting muscles are known as the agonist. The muscles on the opposing side of the joint relax to allow the movement pattern to occur, elongating muscles are called antagonistic. This process is referred to as Reciprocal Inhibition.
When the muscles that surround a joint become functionally deficient, the body begins to compensate by limiting the amount of movement that can occur at a particular joint. The only way that the body can prevent movement is through muscular contractions. When these contractions occur over a prolonged period of time or a stress is added on top of the contracted muscle we risk the possibility of a soft tissue injury such as a strain or sprain.
So does this mean that all compensation stay localized to a particular joint?
Absolutely not. The body is designed to function with the end goal as the target. The end goal could be something like walking up the stairs on a tender knee. If you have ever experienced knee pain you now that the body will actually transfer the weight onto the opposite side as an attempt to minimize forces on the area of tenderness.
While this is a good thing for the currently injured location it exacerbates the amount of force that the joints and muscles on the other side of the body have. Staying in this scenario, the compensation pattern can transfer into the pelvis adding additional stress onto the muscles of the hip and lumbar spine.
So if someone has a knee pain, what should they do?
Pain is caused by tissue damage and inflammation. You have to address the most current situation first. Limiting forces on the injured area, compressions, ice, etc. These are all good localized issues, but you should also obtain a functional scan of the body to determine why this knee we injured. If you siffered a trauma directly to the knee, that is one thing. If your knee just started to get more and more bothered over time than there is a high probability that you were compensating away from one area in the body and the knee just became the favored area. This is why we created the QLD Assessment System. We wanted people to have a way to identify why they hurt by isolating what their body was doing.
How did you invent the QLD Assessment System?
I have had the privilege of working with some of the greatest strength and conditioning coaches in the country. From High School and into the pros. That being said, in college I fractured my L5 vertebra. I went misdiagnosed for almost two years until I could not take the pain and dysfunction anymore. I underwent surgery to repair the fracture, then went through several months of rehabilitation.
I returned to the football field and played two more years. 2 years after my back surgery I tore my patella tendon. Every medical professional told me that the two incidences were not related. I knew somehow, they had to be so I started creating the QLD AI-driven database. This consisted of identifying every joint in the body, every range of motion at each joint, every muscular association to the joints and corresponding actions, etc.
Eventually, what I discovered was that while the boney structure of my back was repaired the muscular compensations that had developed were only being strengthened in physical therapy. When I returned to the field, I felt limber and strong but I was really an accident waiting to happen. The stress was being distributed into my Rectus Femoris which forms the patella tendon. If I had a system such as the QLD Assessment, the the training staff and myself would have been able to identify the specific ranges of motion that I should have focused on and the issue may have never occurred.