Can You Squat?Two weeks ago, we had three new patients, all of which had the same complaint. If you had to guess, what you would guess was the common symptom that these three people shared? Knowing that we are a chiropractic office, you would probably guess that it was lower back pain, or maybe neck pain. You would need to guess again. It might have taken you a couple of guesses to get around to knee pain. That's a bit of an odd complaint in most chiropractic offices, but not in ours.
While their pains were all located in the knee, they were all in slightly different locations in the knee. During our assessments of these three patients, we tested the range of motion (of not just the knee, but the hip and ankle too), did orthopedic testing to make sure all the tendons and ligaments were healthy, and finally asked the patient to do a squat. With that request, we got some strange looks. Two of the three had been advised by another health care provider to avoid squats at all costs. After I explained that we are only doing one or two, and after some serious consideration and hesitation on their part, each of these patients eventually did a squat to the best of their ability. Despite doing that squat, in their eyes, I could tell that they were wondering why I would ask them to do a squat. Especially after they had been advised not to do them anymore.
Each of their squats was a little different than the other. Just like each of their pains was a little different. The way that they squatted helped us to understand what was happening in their knee, and made making the correct diagnosis much easier for each of them. For most people, pain in our knee does not come from the action of squatting, but from doing the movement improperly with each and every squat during our lifetime. In addition, the more we tend to avoid a movement, the more difficult it becomes to do. So don't avoid squats, just avoid squatting with poor technique!
The reason we need to see patients squat is simple. Squatting is a normal everyday activity. It is not something to avoid. In fact, it is something to seek out. A movement we should be doing every day. Each of these patients was advised that their treatment program would absolutely include instruction on how to safely perform a squat. After they are instructed on proper technique, and they have demonstrated proficiency, then they will be asked to squat every day.
Later that week, The New York Times posted an article entitled The Power of the Squat. Talk about perfect timing! As soon as I saw the article, I emailed it to each of the new patients that I had seen earlier in the week.
The squat is a great exercise for general well-being, but also to allow us to get stronger, and maintain our independence as we age. If you would like to read the article that I shared from The New York Times, please click this image!
Have a great weekend!
Movement is my medicine,