A client sent me a link to the NY Times article about Aging Knees and he was totally amazed that throughout the entire article not only did they never mention that tight muscles can cause knee pain, they actually were praising doing exercises that will further shorten the quadriceps and put yet more pressure on the knee.
It’s also amazing to me, considering that this is an article that is supposed to be helping people, yet they overlook totally any connection to tight muscles. It doesn’t make sense at all. Think of this analogy: when you pull your hair, your scalp hurts and you can’t turn your head in the opposite direction. This is exactly what is happening when your muscle is tight and it is pulling on the tendon that inserts at the joint. As it pulls you move in that direction, and when it is tight you will NOT move in the opposite direction.
In the case of the knee, the quadriceps originate either at the tip of your anterior pelvis (the rectus femoris muscle) or along the length of your thigh bone (the other three quadriceps) and they all insert into a tendon that crosses over your kneecap and inserts into the front of your shin bone (tibia) just below the joint of your knee. When the quads contract you will straighten your leg from the bent position. Now, imagine that you have a leather strap that is going from the tip of your pelvis and over your kneecap to the top of your shin bone. The leather strap is exactly the length to go between these two points. What would happen if you tried to bend your knee? You couldn’t! The strap would have to lengthen in order for your knee to bend.
This is exactly what is happening with the muscles, in order for your knee to bend your quadriceps have to lengthen. Yet, if you are exercising them to strengthen them (which is also shortening them) and you never release the tension in the muscles, how will you bend your knee? That is just pure logic, yet it is ignored. I don’t get it!
If I went on to the NY Times discussion about this article, and I told them about the treatments to release the tension (which can all be found in my book, Treat Yourself to Pain-Free Living), there would be people complaining that I was just marketing. I just can’t figure out how to get this word out to people who are looking for non-surgical, non-drug solutions to joint aches and pains. If you have any ideas, please tell me.
Meanwhile I’ll just keep moving along, helping as many people as possible. Thanks to all of you who are helping by word-of-mouth on the internet. I love the emails I’m getting from people telling me how they found, and successfully self-treated, their joint pain problems.
Have a great day,