Fix Pain with The Joint-By-Joint Theory

“Problems at one joint usually show up as pain in the joint above or below.” – Mike Boyle⁣

Gray Cook and Mike Boyle argue that the body is basically a stack of joints from the ankles to the shoulders. Each joint has a specific function to serve. Dysfunction with one joint usually shows up as pain or injury to the surrounding joints. ⁣

When you stack the joints up you can see that they alternate between the need for mobility and the need for stability.⁣

  • Ankles: Mobility⁣

  • Knees: Stability⁣

  • Hip: Mobility⁣

  • Lumbar spine (low back): Stability⁣

  • Thoracic spine (upper back): Mobility⁣

  • Scapula: Stability ⁣

  • Shoulders: Mobility ⁣

Knowing the role of each joint makes finding the source of the injury and reducing pain easier. It also helps when it comes to planning your training. ⁣

To recap - pain in one joint is usually from dysfunction at another joint.⁣

Let’s use the low back as an example. Stuart McGill explains that most people suffering from low back pain may actually have stronger low backs than those who don’t. The problem isn’t the pain in the low back per se, it could be stemming from an issue in the hips. If the hips don’t move effectively then the low bac