Each day people exercise, and in doing so, unknowingly put themselves at risk of immediate or future injuries. The reason why is they are building fitness over dysfunction. Dysfunction means their body is not working correctly. The problems could be in the joints, the muscles, or abnormal posture (such as forward head post or a rotated pelvis). Additionally, it could also involve problems related to other connective tissues (such as the fascia or the ligaments).

Scott Smalls is a 38 year old freelance sports writer from Pittsburgh, PA. Scott enjoys playing golf, softball and paddle ball. He works out at the gym 3-4 days per week. However whenever Scott plays sports or works out, his low back hurts. It feels like there is a vice clamping down on his lower back. Despite the pain and discomfort, Scott pushes on and completes his work outs and fights through. Why does Scott's back hurt? And why is not he doing anything about fixing the problem?

The problem with Scott is that he has dysfunction in his low back. His joints are not moving correctly. He has tight hamstrings, a weak core, an unbalanced pelvis and spinal instability. While he is exercising (hitting both cardio and weights), he is building fitness over dysfunction. Subsequently, he is not only suffering with chronic pain, he is also putting himself at risk of accelerated degenerative changes with his joints, discs and muscles.

Building fitness over dysfunction leads to diminished athletic performance, acute injuries, chronic & reoccurring problems (such as rolled ankles, rotator cuff tears, hip movement disorders and lower back sprain-strains).

The failure to diagnose, identify and correct dysfunction is an incredibly widespread problem. People need to undergo a performance screening examination to find out if they are experiencing musculoskeletal dysfunction. This includes not only those currently suffering with pain, but also those who have not yet experienced any symptoms. Yet, how many of us have gone through the trouble of going through a performance screen to see how our bodies are performing prior to engaging in sports or an exercise protocol? Moreover, for those who did bother to go to their medical doctor, did the physician understand enough about biomechanics to check for joint motion, soft tissue integrity, posture, core stabilization, and the other factors that go into total body function?

There is a new gold standard for checking and correcting musculoskeletal function. It is called MAS Correction. MAS is an acronym which stands for Motion-Alignment-Strength. Most musculoskeletal problems are caused by dysfunction with motion, alignment or strength. Motion is essential for life, a pain free lifestyle and enhanced athletic performance. When our bodies stop moving correctly, they start to break down. Healthy motion involves joint motion, muscle motion and motion patterns (coupled motion involving multiple areas of the body which work together (such as the shoulders and thoracic spine). Normal alignment is as important to the spine as it is to a suspension bridge or building . Mechanical engineers know that if a bridge is structurally unsound, it can collapse. If the foundation of a building is not level, the building will never be structurally sound. Just like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, a crooked spine does not have mechanical stability either. If your spreadsheet lacks core strength, it will not be able to handle the various demands placed upon it through your activities of daily living. In order to stabilize and strengthen the spine, you need a program which is specifically designed to discover and then correct functional weaknesses. In order to accomplish this, we take our patients through a series of functional tests to assess where weak areas may be. Then we prescribe exercises to strengthen those isolated muscle groups which are suspected to be lacking the appropriate degree of strength & stability.

You must fix movement problems first, alignment problems second and stability / strength problems last. Failure to address these issues in the correct sequence will result in a significantly increased probability of re-injury. I recommend every person who exercises or plays sports get checked using MAS Correction protocols to ensure that they are not at risk of building fitness over dysfunction. It is much better, easier and more affordable to prevent problems rather than fixing injuries after they occur.