Regional Interdependence and why you should know it
Regional interdependence as defined by Wainner et al. 2007 is the “concept that seemingly unrelated impairments in a remote anatomical region may contribute to, or be associated with the patients’ primary complaint.”
What does this really mean?
This concept essentially states that although you may be experiencing symptoms such as pain, stiffness/tightness in one area of the body, that body part may not necessarily be the cause.
Let’s talk about an example, knee pain while squatting. Now there can be many different reasons WHY you may experience knee pain while squatting that do not necessarily mean the knee is the direct cause. It could be very likely that the knee is the messenger for another anatomical region that is not working as efficiently as it should be. When squatting there are certain movement pre-requisites that you should have such as adequate ankle dorsi-flexion (ankle range of motion) and adequate hip flexion/extension just to name two (there are more). Now, if you do not have the required pre-requisite range of motion for this movement, the human body will likely develop some compensatory movement pattern to achieve the goal of performing a squat that could lead to some knee pain. The knee, like many joints in the body is constantly affected by what is going on at the joints above and below it, this is something that is called the kinetic chain.
Why does this matter to YOU?
If you are ignoring the joints above and below the area of primary complaint, you are likely to leave a lot on the table in terms of treatment. Back to our knee pain example, you can treat the knee all you want but unless you address the deficits at the ankle or at the hip you will not get the full benefit at the knee. Treating just the knee in that case is like putting a band aid on the problem and hoping it fixes itself.
Here is a quick guide to the body that maps out the Joint by Joint Approach and general what body parts need more mobility versus stability. (disclaimer; we did not create this image)