How Chiropractic Care Can Help You Reach Your Wellness Goals
January 20, 2023
By Dr. Brett Taylor
Whether it’s behind the wheel, at the desk, or on the couch, Americans sit on average, 8 hours every day. You don’t need the National Library of Science to tell you that sitting too long isn’t ideal for your health. It can also be tough on your joints, leading to pain, stiffness, and ultimately, limiting your mobility.
But there is something you can do about it – and it doesn’t require a gym membership or a total shift in lifestyle. Adding mobility exercises can go a long way toward promoting your health and wellness. The first step? Understanding joint mobility and learning how to test yours.
What exactly is mobility? Not to be confused with flexibility — your muscles’ ability to lengthen — mobility is your joints’ ability to move through a range of motion. When your joints, muscles, fascia, and skin move in sync, they allow you to walk, run, climb, jump, reach and twist freely and easily without pain, strain or tension.
The more coordinated your joints, muscles, fascia, and skin become, the more motion they’ll be capable of — whether that’s work tasks, leisure activities or athletic feats. The longer you sit still, the less you’ll be able to experience your joint’s full range of motion, and the more you may disrupt your favorite activities and quality of life.
Over time, joint tissues can weaken, either through natural wear and tear, inflammation or microinjury. You may not even be aware of this gradual deterioration, or find you’ve simply become accustomed to dysfunction because of how slowly it can creep up on you.
According to the CDC, 13% of American adults have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs, which means their mobility is disrupting their lifestyle. Mobility limitations also make it more difficult to recover from activity or injury.
You can maintain your mobility and prevent joint dysfunction by making simple shoulder mobility exercises, hip mobility exercises, knee mobility exercises or ankle mobility exercises a part of your routine.
“Because your body and your mobility needs are unique, at some point you will need an assessment and personalized exercise protocol that takes both your weaknesses and your strengths into account. But gentle at-home exercises are a great start to mobility maintenance.”
A powerful way to improve your mobility is to strengthen the muscles surrounding your joints as much as possible — which can be done in the comfort of your own home, with mobility exercises. Regular mobility exercises can help you maintain your joint health well into middle age and beyond.
A personalized care plan consisting of gentle adjustments and active therapies can help you recover lost mobility, and help you maintain or improve existing levels. A Doctor of Chiropractic will assess your capabilities and limitations and then prescribe mobility exercises such as: shoulder mobility exercises, knee mobility exercises and hip mobility exercises for each body’s age, ability and health goal.
“Lack of mobility in one area of your body can lead to increased movement, stress, or injury in another, stressing joints and causing pain. Identifying different types of joint mobility and deficits will allow you to address these areas and work to improve them.”
Because the joint that’s causing the issue may not always be the one that’s aching, tingling or throbbing, joint mobility isn’t always easy to diagnose on your own. However, there are a few screening tests that can clue you into joint dysfunction before it does you in.
Try these five joint mobility exercises to determine whether you’re recovering fully from your days’ activities and restoring the degree of mobility you need to power through your tomorrow. If you find one exercise position is difficult to achieve, work up to it gradually for 5 minutes every day.
The three sections of your spine — upper (cervical), middle (thoracic), and lower (lumbar) have a different natural curvature. The mid spine enables rotation, which is the way you generate power for throwing and running. To determine whether tightness in this area is impacting the way you move:
If this position was difficult to achieve, begin working toward it gradually every day.
It’s easy to forget how often we need our arm and shoulder mobility throughout the workday and while playing just about every sport. Take a moment to check on yours.
Hip mobility exercises are vital for walking, climbing and running. To check yours:
You have excellent mobility if you can lift your leg to a 90-degree angle while keeping your other leg on the floor, like this:
Inability to bring the legs forward will limit your knee drive while running. Slowly work your way toward this position.
To test the critical ability to extend your hip during reaching, jumping and sprinting:
Were you able to do:
If you were able to hold one or none of these positions, you may want to get some help managing your mobility ASAP.
Your Chiro One DC will thoroughly assess your mobility, then prescribe and supervise the three types of personalized mobility exercises for your unique strengths and weaknesses:
Of course, your first step is to find a reputable chiropractor that listens and collaborates with you on a personalized care plan that considers your age, medical history and goals.
Check in with your nearest Chiro One doc at one of our welcoming open-plan clinics across the country. They’ll perform a thorough exam to investigate the root cause of your pain, then personalize your care plan — a combination of gentle chiropractic adjustments and active therapies.
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