“Chronic Muscle Imbalance Syndrome”
- Chronic – a condition that is persistent; constant; habitual or otherwise long-lasting in its effects and/or recurring frequently.
- Muscle – a tissue composed of cells or fibers, the contraction of which produces movement in the body.
- Imbalance – the state or condition of lacking balance; faulty muscular or glandular coordination.
- Syndrome – a group of symptoms that together are characteristic of a specific disorder, disease, or the like
If we combine the definitions above, we can assume the following:
Chronic Muscle Imbalance Syndrome (CMI) – is a persistent, constant, or habitual symptom or condition creating a lack of balance in the body resulting in faulty movement patterns and muscular coordination.
The “officially” labeled term/condition of Chronic Muscle Imbalance (CMI) doesn’t actually exist as a diagnosis within the medical community. Yet when you look deeply at a variety of conditions that people suffer from, or in my opinion, ALL of the conditions people suffer from; you will find a very common and devastating thread of consistency…muscle imbalance, not typical muscle imbalance, chronic muscle imbalance.
The word CHRONIC is already widely used throughout the medical community and as therapists most of the conditions we treat tend to be labeled within the scope of this word; CHRONIC fatigue, CHRONIC pain (grab bag), or CHRONIC inflammation, etc.
The term MUSCLE IMBALANCE has an entire leg of the fitness industry built around it. The “functional training” movement has only seen explosive growth within the past 10 – 15 years or so. Specialties within the fitness community such as functional movement training and core strength/stabilization have only recently become the staple for nearly all personal training programs. These programs tend to focus on weakness/inhibition and faulty movement patterns that are typically found through either specific muscle testing or a variety of movement screens. Testing and screening for faulty patterns and postural issues is an incredible way to identify problem areas within the body, not to mention all of the diagnostic tests such as MRI’s, x-rays, and ultra sound to name a few.
There are simply too many tests available to determine the cause of someone’s pain within the healthcare/rehab world to talk about. They all do an amazing job at identifying a specific problem, injury, or condition, but when it comes to chronic pain the one common thing they ALL seem to miss is “why”. Why is my pain so chronic? Why doesn’t anything seem to help? Why can’t I get lasting relief? Why? Why? Why? Why no REAL answers?
The REAL answer is typically buried deep within the muscular system and yet its right under your finger tips…literally!
When people suffer from chronic pain, the diagnostic process is supposed to be the most critical part of assessing that pain. It’s supposed to give clients the very reason why they are suffering. Yet, oddly enough this process often makes clients even more confused and left feeling helpless.
When someone with a 10 year history of low back pain, hip pain, leg pain, or sciatica is told they have bulging or herniated discs in their lumbar spine it should be a huge relief to them to finally know what’s wrong. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case and for most, it’s the beginning of their nightmare search for relief.
They’ll probably start with a pain management doc, get an epidural or trigger point shot or maybe physical therapy for some exercises. After their insurance allotted physical therapy sessions are all used up and still no relief, maybe it’s the first of many trips to the chiropractor. Then it’s on to the massage therapist, acupuncturist, or naturopath. Still having very little relief, and as a last resort, they start popping the pain killers and muscle relaxers. Then before you can blink, you’ve tried it all. You’ve been everywhere, you’ve done everything, and you’ve followed everyone’s directions. Yet, here we are again, why?
There is a general rule of thumb that people suffering with chronic pain need to follow, when all diagnostic tests are negative, when most treatments have little to no lasting results, or when doctors seem to give up on you, it’s almost always a muscle problem at the root of all symptoms.
Don’t forget, there is NO DOCTOR or SPECIALTY of muscle within the traditional medical field. So when you think you have tried it all and thought of everything possible to get help, don’t give up think muscle!