A Muscle or a Joint Problem? Why You Need to Address Both

Is it a muscle problem or a joint problem?


I get this question multiple times a day. The human body is made up of 206 bones, roughly 650-850 muscles, and roughly 360 joints (leave room for genetic variation of course). Generally speaking every skeletal muscle in the body serves to move or act on a joint. This is how we stand, turn, walk, and move. In most of the musculoskeletal problems we see in our office the problem will never be just a muscle or a joint problem, it's a combination of the two. So what came first, the chicken or the egg?


Let’s use whiplash during a car accident as an example. During the accident there was force that acted on your neck. You saw the accident coming and braced for impact. As much as your muscles would have liked to prevent excessive movement of your head, the force was too great and they became overstretched and injured.  


When the active structures (tissue of the body that have contractile properties) are unable to properly control the movement around a specific joint, passive tissues (non-contractile tissue such as ligaments/bones) are then relied on to help reduce the force of impact. If the force is too great for these structures as well, we are often left with broken bones, dislocated joints, or completely ruptured muscles, tendons, and ligaments.  Often the body moves into protection mode causing uninjured muscles to spasm, making an autonomic splint for the joint in an attempt to prevent further injury from aberrant motions. Often, the spasm of uninjured tissues leads to an increase in pain and further loss of joint motion.


So you have an injury and want to know what your best options are for healing: medicine, muscle work, or joint work? Painkillers may help, but are you really addressing the injury, or are you merely putting tape over the check engine light on your dashboard.



If we only address the joints without examining the movement, structure and integrity of the muscle tissues are we missing part of the puzzle? I think so. What is the most cost effective way of restoring your body’s movement systems from head to toe? We believe it involves seeking the expertise of a sports chiropractor who takes the time to address both the muscles and the joints.


Active Release Technique

Active Release Technique

Every patient that comes to Boulder Sports Chiropractic gets individualized therapy to address both muscle and joint function, as well as corrective exercises to help maintain the desired results.


Our providers at Boulder Sports Chiropractic have taken additional coursework, training, and examinations to become certified practitioners in both ART (active release technique) and Graston Techniques.


Active Release Technique (ART)

ART is a patented, state of the art soft tissue system/movement based massage technique that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. Using a hands on approach and diagnostic skills, specific pressure is applied to the problematic areas of the body to help improve motion of your body’s connective tissues. Each ART session is customized to your symptoms and goals in order to reduce pain and restore faulty joint motion.


Graston Technique

Graston Technique is an instrument assisted soft-tissue technique that is used to reduce scar tissue and muscle adhesions often found in injured areas. Similar to a deep tissue or sports massage, the Graston tool helps to release both the superficial and intermediate fascial and muscular layers. Graston Technique is clinically proven to achieve faster and better outcomes for acute and chronic conditions such as Achilles Tendonitis, Carpal Tunnel, Adhesive Capsulitis, IT Band Syndrome, Lumbar Strain and Plantar Fasciitis. 


If you are in pain, call our office today to get the fastest results. At Boulder Sports Chiropractic we will address both the muscles and the joints to get you pain free quickly.


Call today to schedule an appointment 303-444-5105