How many times have you heard someone say my hips are so tight I need to stretch, or my low back hurts I need to stretch it?
Should you really stretch it? How about stabilizing the joint, would that be better?
The body is a tricky mechanism. We might be tight in one area of the body, and hurt in another.
Finding the source of where the pain is stemming from isn’t usually where you think it would be.
If one part of body is tight or lacks range of motion it might cause an imbalance somewhere else. Knowing where to look and trying to find the source of pain is important to your recovery and getting back to feeling better.
Today, I am going to go over a how to treat mobility and stability from a joint-by-joint approach.
Here is a great article where they take an excerpt on the joint-by-joint approach from Mike Boyle’s book, “Advances in Functional Training” the joint-on graycookmovement.com.
There are four mobile joints in our body. Keeping each of these joints mobile is very important to how you move in and out of the gym on a daily basis.
With every mobile joint, there is a joint that needs to be stabilized. When the mobile joint is mobile it lets our stabile joints be stabile. Without adequate mobility the body will transfer our forces of the body else where, which may result an improper movement or pain.
Now, lets go over four joints and how they effect the joint above it or below it:
ANKLE: (Mobility)- The ankle is a joint that you need keep mobile. Keeping our ankle mobile allows us proper dorsiflexion during movements. Without adequate mobility of the ankle, the knee will take on a lot of stress.
The KNEE: (Stability)- The knee is a joint that should be stabilized. Not keeping adequate mobility in the ankle, things like running, jumping, and lifting can cause stress on the knee. Keeping the stress off the knee is very important keeping good stability in the joint.
HIP: (Mobility)- The hip is tricky, you can mobilize and stabilize it. First, lets talk about mobility. Lack of mobility in the hip can cause low back pain.
The LUMBAR SPINE (low back):(Stability)- The lumbar spine is suppose to be stable. Without proper hip mobility we can not move properly which cause our lumbar spine to move, which then becomes unstable. Flexion of the low back is not good, especially under a heavy load. Thats why it is very important to have hip mobility to maintain lumbar spine stability.
Now lets talk about hip stability. Lack of hip stability comes from lack of strength. When we are not stable at the hip, it causes unwarranted movement in femur and knee.
As you can see proper strength and mobility of the hip is very important. Maintaining both will help you move better and feel better.
THORACIC SPINE: (Mobility)- The thoracic spine is located on the upper back between your lumbar spine (low back) and cervical spine (neck). It is vertebrae T1-T12. Keeping proper mobility is very important to proper shoulder and neck health and movement.
Not keeping proper mobility of the thoracic spine will cause the shoulder region to anteriorly tilt and be caved forward. When the shoulder joint is anteriorly tilted forward it can make some of our favorite movements very painful. Things like back squats, bench press, and even deadlifts can become uncomfortable among others.
Without adequate mobility in the thoracic region, it will be hard to get your arms overhead in a safe manner. Not being able to get your arms overhead in a safe manner will result in compensation from the lumbar spine and could become painful. As I said above, your body will compensate by moving through the lumbar spine, which causes us to lose stability in the low back.
Last but not the least, we have the……
SHOULDER: (Mobility and Stability)- The shoulder and the hip are similar, we have to mobilize the front and stabilize the back. In the front we have the gleno-humeral joint which we need to mobilize.
Keeping the shoulder mobilized is very important in how we move our arms.
Proper mobility of the shoulder allows the ball of the socket to move properly. Not having proper mobility of the shoulder can cause unwanted movement in the lumbar spine.
Now, stabilizing the shoulder joint is also very important in keeping it safe. Making sure that ball in the socket is stabile, keeps it protected during movement. Strengthening the scapula musculature will help keep the shoulder stabile. Building strength in the musculature surrounding the scapula will help hold the shoulder together.
Maintaining mobility and stability is important to the health and movement of the shoulder.
In this post, I, just went over the four joints that need to be kept mobile. If the joints aren’t kept mobile their may be repercussions, which I discussed. The body is connected from one joint to the next, and not keeping proper mobility in one joint will result in a loss of stability in another.
The loss of stability usually comes with pain attached to it. Maintaining stability can be as easy staying strong around the joint. The stronger you are the more stable you can be.
Posture, plays a big part in how the body moves. I am going to save it for another post, but I would be mistaken if I didn’t mention that posture plays a role in mobility.
Next time you have a pain, try to find the root of the cause. Lack of mobility can lead to lack of stability, which can lead to pain.