Mobility ... It's More Than Just Activity
What is mobility?
Mobility is the ability to move your joint through the entire range of motion. Ideally this range of motion is without pain. Having good mobility allows your body to function in the most optimal way. To ensure that you have maximal mobility, it is important to address how the joints, muscles and neural system are working. If there is a limitation, whether that be pain, stiffness, tightness or tension, in any of these tissues, your function is going to be limited.
Joint mobility is the movement around a specific joint in your body. Joint mobility is important because it allows for optimal movement and function at that specific joint. The muscles, tendons and ligaments surrounding the joint require good joint mobility to allow for normal function of those tissues. There are three classifications we use to categorize joint mobility, hypermobility, normal mobility, and hypomobility.
First, is hypermobility of a joint, meaning there is excessive motion. Know anyone who is “double jointed”? This would be an example of someone who has too much motion in their joints. Second, there is normal mobility, or the expected amount of motion at the joint. Finally, there is hypomobility or less motion than is expected at the joint, also known as stiffness. As we age, joints can become stiff, but also injury, postural deficits, and certain conditions, like arthritis, can contribute to stiffness of a joint. Maintaining normal joint mobility through movement, exercise and hands on techniques is important to prevent injury and ensure you can perform at your best.
The mobility and ability for muscles and soft tissues to lengthen around a joint is referred to as flexibility. Not only is it important to have normal joint mobility, it is also important that the surrounding tissues move as expected. With limited flexibility, range of motion can be reduced and lead to pain at the end range of motion. Limited flexibility at a specific joint can also cause excessive mobility at the joint above and/or below the site of tightness as compensation leading to increased risk of injury. Exercise, stretching and techniques for soft tissue mobilization, like massage or dry needling, can help maintain desired mobility at the muscles, tendons and other soft tissues.
Neurodynamics addresses the communication of the nervous system and relationship of the nerves and muscle tissues. Nerves travel throughout the body and both give and receive information that is relayed to our brain. This allows our body to move, react and perform daily functions. Nerves travel under, around and through muscles and other soft tissues in the body. If there is a restriction in motion of neural tissue due to adhesions to muscles, or limited ability of the nerve to glide between other soft tissues, joint range of motion can be limited and pain can be experienced. Exercise, specific nerve glides and hands on techniques to improve neural and tissue mobility can help to limit pain with joint use and activity.
How can PT help?
A snag in any of the above systems can lead to limited mobility, pain and less than optimal function. Physical Therapy can help to diagnose your musculoskeletal impairment, provide you with individualized exercises to address your mobility issues and provide you with hands on treatment to improve mobility, decrease pain and make you feel your best. Hands on treatment can include joint mobilizations, soft tissue mobilization and dry needling. Stay tuned for our social media post to highlight different treatment techniques.
Contact us TODAY at Dynamic Physical Therapy and Wellness to schedule your appointment to ensure that you Perform Better, Live Better and Get Better!