Activity, Injury Prevention, Pain Relief, physical therapy

Why you should care about movement variability.

Photo by Dominika Roseclay

We have 208 bones in our body. They all connect together to form joints. Every joint in our body has relative ‘normal’ range of motion. Movement variability is the idea that the more ‘variable’ our joints are (the more available range of motion), the more options for movement we have.

That’s not to say that super flexible people are off the hook. There is a dichotomy between mobility and stability. A very flexible person who doesn’t have good strength will be just as high risk for problems as a strong but tight person.

A limitation in range of motion at one joint will lower our options for movement at that area, creating compensation somewhere else. While having that limitation in one joint might not be a huge issue, multiple joints can really create some problem. Another consideration is the location of the limitation. Some areas are more difficult to determine if there is limitation or not, because humans are really good compensators. I use bending tests, diaphragm, ribcage and pelvis tests to find limitations. 

A third and most complex consideration is layering. Remember I just said humans are great compensators? Well, for example, a limitation in your knee may not be your only limitation, and the other area of limitation (i.e. your hip, pelvis, or ribcage) may be the actual cause of your knee problem. If your hip cannot extend all the way, you can’t stand up straight unless you bend your knee slightly to compensate. The hip may not hurt, but your knee pain starts up and you think it’s “arthritis” when in actuality, your hip is the problem. Clean up the motion in the hip, knee pressure is gone and range of motion returns, BOOM. 

This is why it is VITAL for you to have a full body postural assessment. The only way you can get to the root of the problem is by clearing typical movement limitation problem areas. Those areas are the pelvis/hip position, diaphragm/ribcage position, and neck position. and will absolutely impact your mobility in your arms and legs. 

~ Courtney 

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