Muscle News Daily April 23 2014, 0 Comments

Got TMJ pain and headaches? I feel for you!

I'm always looking to see what the prognosis is going to be for various conditions that my patients present with. That allows me to give the patient a good idea on what to expect. A new study looked at the differences between someone with TMJ alone and those with headaches. 

They found there were significant differences in outcome characteristics. Those with TMJ and headaches had a higher pain intensity level and more difficulty sleeping. However, treatment outcomes were similar, except for neck pain.

Treating trigger points associated with TMJ problems is difficult enough. Adding headaches should be an indicator to spend more time educating the patient and addressing the pain and sleeping difficulties. 

Do you really need to do static stretching before exercise to prevent cramps?

Static stretching is seen by some as an effective way to prevent muscle cramps. Stretching before exercise is often promoted as a strategy. The rationale is that Golgi Tendon Organ disinhibition contributes to these 'muscle cramps'. So stretching prior to exercise should in theory increase inhibition of the Golgi Tendon Organ and do it for a period of time after the stretch. 

A new study decided to see if this was the case. They did an EMG study on the gastrocnemius muscle 1, 5, 10, 15 and 30 minutes after applying three, 1 minute duration stretches. 

The results?

Maximum inhibition, area of inhibition and duration of inhibition were unaffected during the 30 minutes post stretch. Does this mean static stretching doesn't prevent muscle cramps? No, but there definitely needs to be an alternate hypothesis on how it does decrease muscle cramping. 

Decreasing patellofemoral joint stress: Squats or nonweight bearing exercises? Inquiry minds want to know

No matter how much we advance in our knowledge, some things are still leaving doubts. For example, which exercises are best and at which angle to strengthen the quads while minimizing stresses on the patellofemoral joint (PFJ)? A new study actually came out with some interesting results. 

They looked at the squat as the weight bearing exercise, and knee extension with variable resistance and knee extension with constant resistance as the non weight bearing exercises? The results are in:

The squat produced the most PFJ stress at 90 degrees, 75 degrees, and 60 degrees of knee flexion. 

The knee extension with variable resistance produced significantly less stress than the constant resistance at 90, 75, and 60 degrees. 

In conclusion, best way to minimize PFJ stress is to perform squats at 0 to 45 degrees of knee flexion and knee extensions with variable resistance at 90 to 45 degrees of flexion.