Musculo-Skeletal Dysfunction

Musculo-skeletal dysfunction refers to any dysfunction involving the muscles and bones of the body as they relate to each other. Dysfunctions associated with the musculo-skeletal system often involve unresolved postural or biomechanical issues that have caused compression, sheering or mal-alignment at the associated joints as well as soft tissue abnormalities such as muscle spasms and trigger points.

Knee Pain

Knee PainKnee dysfunction/pain is one of the most common diagnoses treated in an out-patient Physical Therapy setting. A common misconception among our patients is that because their knee pain is lingering and has not responded to traditional treatment; they must have severe degeneration or arthritis and therefore must live in pain or have a knee surgery. The kinetic chain approach treats the body as a chain of joints acting together. In order for this chain to work properly, all components of the chain must be functioning properly; this includes muscles, joint, fascia and nerves. We address faulty joint mechanics, abnormal muscle length-tension and any other factors that may be affecting the fluidity and strength of the chain.

Hip Pain

Hip PainBursitis, Tendonitis, Degenerative Joint Disease, Osteo-Arthritis and generic sprains/strains are common diagnoses in the out-patient physical therapy setting. Our goal at Kinetic Chain Physical Therapy is to address the mechanics of the hip joint to eliminate tendon and bursa irritation and decrease the progression of any degenerative changes that are taking place. The hip joint is designed to withstand repeated motion and a fair amount of wear and tear. This ball-and-socket joint fits together in a way that allows for fluid movement. The ability of the femoral head (the ball portion of the femur) to articulate properly in the socket is largely dictated by the structures above and below. Faulty knee, ankle, pelvis and spinal mechanics can all affect the mobility and stability of the femur. Addressing the complete chain is necessary in order to effectively determine the cause of the faulty mechanics and allow for a strong and pain-free joint.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It involves the breakdown of cartilage within the joint. Cartilage normally protects the joint, allowing for smooth movement. Cartilage also absorbs shock when pressure is placed on the joint, like when you walk. Without the usual amount of cartilage, the bones rub together, causing pain, swelling (inflammation), and stiffness.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis:

  • Joint pain and joint stiffness can occur at rest or more commonly, with weight-bearing for extended periods of time.
  • Tenderness in and around the joint.
  • Limited range of motion in one or more joints.
  • Redness and warmth around the affected joint.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)

k-tmjTemporomandibular joint disorder (TMD, TMJD or TMJ) are terms used to describe dysfunction involving the temporomandibular joint.

Dysfunction at the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) can occur for many reasons. Physical therapy treatment is focused on improving the muscle balance in the muscles associated with the head, neck and jaw to improve alignment and congruency at the joint. Postural issues must also be addressed as a forward head and/or anterior shoulder positioning with their subsequent muscle imbalances can also effect alignment at the TMJ.

Symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint disorder:

  • Inflammation that may be acute or chronic.
  • Joint noise.
  • Locking and/or pain at rest or with range of motion.

Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD)

k-djdDegenerative Joint Disease (DJD) is more commonly known as osteoarthritis (OA), most of the time; the cause of OA is unknown. It is mainly related to aging, but metabolic, genetic, chemical, and mechanical factors can also lead to OA.

The symptoms of osteoarthritis usually appear in middle age and almost everyone will have it by age 70. Before age 55, the condition occurs equally in both sexes. However, after 55 it is more common in women.

The disease causes the cushioning (cartilage) between the bone joints to wear away, leading to pain and stiffness. As the disease gets worse, the cartilage disappears and the bone rubs on bone. Bony spurs usually form around the joint.


k-headacheHeadaches can be caused by many things including muscle tension, eye strain, sinusitis, low blood sugar and dehydration. Cervicogenic headaches originate from disorders of the neck, including the anatomical structures innervated by the cervical roots C1–C3. Cervical headache is often precipitated by neck movement and/or sustained awkward head positioning. It is often accompanied by restricted neck mobility as well as neck, shoulder or arm pain. Associated pain in the shoulder or arm can present as a vague ache/pain or a more severe radiating type pain.

Joint Pain

Joint Pain can be caused by many types of injuries or conditions. Two common causes of joint pain are Rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune disorder that causes stiffness and pain in the joints) and Osteoarthritis (growth of bone spurs and degeneration of cartilage at a joint.)

Joint pain can also be caused by compression or sheering forces in or around a joint. These forces are often caused by muscles imbalances in the muscles associated with the joint.


Bursitis is inflammation of the fluid-filled sac (bursa) that lies between a tendon and skin, or between a tendon and bone. Bursitis can be caused by chronic overuse, trauma, rheumatoid arthritis, gout or infection. Sometimes the cause cannot be determined. Bursitis commonly occurs in the shoulder, knee (washmaid’s knee), elbow, and hip. Other areas that may be affected include the Achilles tendon and the foot.

A tendon is a fibrous connective tissue which attaches muscle to bone. A tendon serves to move the bone or structure. Tendonitis is inflammation, irritation, and swelling of a tendon. Tendinitis can occur as a result of injury, overuse, or with aging as the tendon loses elasticity. It can also be seen in systemic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes. Tendinitis can occur in any tendon, but some commonly affected sites are the shoulder (biceps tendonitis or rotator cuff tendonitis), the wrist, the heel (Achilles tendonitis) and the elbow (tennis elbow, golfers elbow.) Tendinosis (tendon degeneration) may also be present.