Glute Muscle Imbalance: EP’s Personal Injury Doctors
The gluteal muscles/glutes comprise the buttocks. They are a powerful muscle group that consists of three muscles. The gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. The glute muscles help power physical performance and daily movements like walking, standing, and sitting and help to prevent injuries to the core, back, abdominal muscles, and other supporting muscles and tissues. Individuals can develop a glute imbalance where one side becomes more dominant and activates more or is higher than the other. An imbalance that is not addressed can lead to further muscle imbalance, posture problems, and pain issues. Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Clinic can develop a personalized treatment plan to relieve symptoms and restore alignment, balance, and health.
Glute Muscle Imbalance
Strong, healthy glutes promote lumbopelvic stability and rhythm, meaning they keep the low back and pelvis in correct alignment to prevent strains and injuries. Glute imbalance occurs when one side of the glutes is larger, stronger, or more dominant. Glute imbalances are common and part of normal human anatomy, as the body is not perfectly symmetrical. Shifting and utilizing the more dominant side when taking on weight or picking up objects is normal, so the one side gets bigger. Just as an individual prefers one hand, arm, and leg over another, one glute side can work harder and become stronger.
There are several causes of glute muscle imbalance, including:
- Anatomical variations- Everyone has uniquely shaped muscles, attachment points, and nerve pathways. These variations can make one side of the glutes more dominant or stronger.
- Unhealthy posture.
- Back pain symptoms can cause individuals to take on unhealthy postures and positioning, like leaning on one side.
- Pre-existing injuries.
- Inadequate rehabilitation from a previous injury.
- Nerve injuries.
- Ankle sprains can lead to reduced glute activation.
- Improper training
- Leg length discrepancies
- Spine condition
- Job occupation
- Sports factors may prioritize one side of the body over the other.
Shifting the Body
When pain presents in one body area, signals are sent to caution the other muscles to contract/tighten as a protective mechanism to prevent further injury. These changes alter movement patterns, leading to muscular imbalances in the glutes and other areas. Individuals who do not rehabilitate from an injury properly can be left with an imbalance.
Chiropractic Relief and Restoration
This condition needs to be addressed to prevent further injuries and issues with posture. Treatment varies depending on the individual and the extent of the problem. A treatment plan to prevent and improve some forms of glute imbalance may include the following.
- Spinal decompression will stretch out the body and muscles to a workable position.
- Therapeutic massage will relax the muscles and increase blood flow.
- Chiropractic adjustments to realign the spine and body.
- Targeted stretches and exercises will be provided to maintain alignment.
- Unilateral training or training one side of the body at a time can help build and strengthen the weaker side.
- Core strengthening can work out the differences on both sides of the body.
Chiropractic Approach for Pain Relief
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Buckthorpe, Matthew, et al. “ASSESSING AND TREATING GLUTEUS MAXIMUS WEAKNESS – A CLINICAL COMMENTARY.” International Journal of sports physical therapy vol. 14,4 (2019): 655-669.
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Pool-Goudzwaard, A. L. et al. “Insufficient lumbopelvic stability: a clinical, anatomical and biomechanical approach to ‘a-specific’ low back pain.” Manual therapy vol. 3,1 (1998): 12-20. doi:10.1054/math.1998.0311
Vazirian, Milad, et al. “Lumbopelvic rhythm during trunk motion in the sagittal plane: A review of the kinematic measurement methods and characterization approaches.” Physical therapy and Rehabilitation vol. 3 (2016): 5. doi:10.7243/2055-2386-3-5
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