Wellness Osteo

Wellness Osteo

At Wellness Osteo, we are osteopaths who focus on achieving optimal health and wellness, which means treating you and sharing our expertise with you. Read on for the ins and outs of osteopathy.

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Isometric contractions

Isometric contractions

 

The building block of healing

 

Following an injury, it hurts to move and it is painful to do everyday activities, so where do you start on your rehabilitation journey? 

Generally speaking, the answer usually involves movement within pain thresholds. Movement that you can handle. But if most movements hurt how can we achieve this?

One of the most common and effective ways in starting your rehabilitation journey is with Isometric contractions!

In this blog we will outline what isometric contractions are, the importance of them and a few examples. 

 

There are 3 types of muscle contractions:

– Isometric contraction is when a muscle contracts but does not change in length. 

– Concentric contraction is when the muscle is shortening while being contracted
– Eccentric contraction is when you are lengthening the muscle while being contracted 

During the very early days of an injury, the tissues ability to handle forces is reduced, stability is lost and pain and weakness occurs. In order for the tissue to heal again, first we must regain stability, then we can progressively increase how much load the tissue can handle after pain has decreased and stability has increased. 

The best way to work on stability of any muscle is with an isometric contraction. During isometric exercises, the muscle doesn’t noticeably change length and the affected joint doesn’t move. Concentric and eccentric contraction the tissue changes length and is vulnerable to more injuries. So this is why we start your rehab with isometric contractions. To have a strong, solid, pain free base to then progress strength on top of with eccentric and concentric work. Mastering the fundamentals of movement is key to making sure structures do not get injured again. 

 

Benefits of Isometric exercises:

  • You can safely contract a muscle when it is injured, as you control how hard you push. If you squeeze too hard and it hurts, you obviously back off. Finding how hard to go without pain and having this automatic feedback is great for early stages of rehab when you might not have much in person guidance and lots of pain. 
  • Isometric training has been proven to be an analgesic (pain killer) during the time people perform the exercise.  
  • Your muscle can be strengthened in a very specific range of motion around a joint. Aiding in stability, which can assist with proper joint movement as rehab progresses.
  • No equipment is needed to perform isometric exercises.

 

Isometric contractions can be a bit boring, but they are incredibly important in making sure you don’t reinjure yourself. Have patients with them, do them properly and you will be happy you did years later. 

Some examples of isometric contractions include copenhagen planks, glute bridge with a ball squeeze, side planks, and early stage shoulder stability. 

Check out our youtube page for examples of all these great exercises.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCi-Y0xzK7wJgoseN3RbeDA