Thanks for checking back in to the blog. I hope the last month has treated you well.
Today I wanted to talk about the topic of mobility, no not your ability to move around the country, but your ability for your body to move freely and without pain. Many of you have at one point in your life been told you are "too stiff" or "too flexible" or that you need to "Stretch more" or "stop bending like that." I, for example, had the nickname of "Gumby" because I was tall, lanky, and pretty flexible (which by the way lead to some injuries including chronic ankle sprains). Anyways, these are general terms directed at our physical "mobility." Now many different anatomical structures can effect our mobility such as our joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons as well as other clinical conditions, but in general when people start to refer to your mobility, they are referring to how much range of motion you have in your joints.
Physical Therapists are trained professionals in assessing your mobility and how it is effected by all these different anatomical structures, but you for the most part are not and don't/can't have a physical therapist there for you to assess it every time. So it is a good idea to have a general understanding of where you are at on the "spectrum of mobility."
Now for the most part, if you are someone that sits on the "hypomobile" part of the spectrum, meaning you are generally more stiff, then you need to add some mobility in your life to help with your overall function and decrease your risk of injury down the road. In general, this could help optimize your workouts, decrease daily stiffness and pain, and improve your overall function as a human. Implementing a daily mobility routine will be a game changer for you.
For those of you that sit on the more "hypermobile" end of the spectrum, meaning you have more flexibility and mobility than normal, you need to implement more "stability" in your life. This could be in the form of strength training, balance and stability work, yoga, or any sort of core stabilization training. Having excessive mobility can leave you at risk for injury associated with joint dislocation, subluxation, degenerative joint disease, etc... In order to combat these risk, implementing an accessory stabilization and strength training program targeted to your specific hypermobile joints can be instrumental in bulletproofing your body as you age. You may want to reconsider the amount of stretching you are performing as well and begin focusing on your stability. Add a stability routine in to your week and reep the benefits.
Now, if you're thinking to yourself, "I still don't know where I fit on this spectrum?," then it is a good idea to reach out to a medical professional such as a physical therapist (ahmm .. like myself) to help you perform a baseline assessment, assessing you mobility, flexibility, and strength and then develop and individualized plan that can help you with your limitations over the next couple months and set you up for pain free success over the course of your lifespan. If you are in pain or have underlying medical conditions, please seek consult with your doctor prior to attempting a self-formed plan.
If you are looking for a basic mobility routine to get started on, check out my RecoverRx YouTube Channel to learn some basic mobility routines. I also have videos on stability through the channel and on our Instagram page. In general though, you should be able to find a basic routine and stick with that for a couple months before you progress. Compliance is key. Realize your limitations and create a plan to address them. You can set your body up to be the best version of itself as long as you have a cognitive awareness of what it needs.
So go out, get assessed, and developed a plan to optimize your mobility or stability and set your body up for a lifetime of success.
Take Care and Stay Safe,
Dr. Luke Greenwell is a Performance Based Physical Therapist with an extensive background in treating the injured athlete. He is passionate about returning people to the sports & activities they love. He has post-doctorate certifications in Manual Spine Therapy and Functional Dry Needling. He is also a NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He has extensive experience in Dartfish video gait/running analysis, concussion rehab, & functional movement screening & correction. He is the owner of CrossFit based RecoverRx Physical Therapy