Posts Tagged ‘Range of motion

19
Nov
13

How Flexible Should I Be and How Can I Measure My Flexibility?


Low back pain SwisschiroWatching a dancer her leg to her nose is an impressive sight, and many of us can perform similar feats when we’re children. But we begin to lose flexibility as we age if we do not make a conscious effort to remain limber. Inactivity causes muscles to shorten and stiffen, and muscle mass is lost with increasing years as well. However, maintaining flexibility as we get older is of great importance, since it allows us to retain our mobility and reduces the likelihood of aches, sprains and falls as we age.

Optimal flexibility means the ability of each of your joints to move fully through their natural range of motion. Simple activities such as walking or bending over to tie your shoes can become major difficulties if your flexibility is limited. Unfortunately, sitting for hours at a desk, as so many are forced to do on a daily basis, eventually leads to a reduction in flexibility as the muscles shorten and tighten.

There are a number of different tests used to measure flexibility, but the one test that has been used as a standard for years is the sit and reach test. It measures the flexibility of your hamstrings and lower back. The simple home version of the test requires only a step (or a small box) and a ruler.

Before the test, warm up for about 10 minutes with some light aerobic activity and do a few stretches. Then place the ruler on the step, letting the end of it extend out a few inches over your toes, and note where the edge of the step comes to on the ruler. Sit on the floor with your feet extended in front of you, flat against the bottom step (or box). With your arms extended straight out in front of you and one hand on top of the other, gradually bend forward from the hips, keeping your back straight. (Rounding the back will give you a false result). Measure where your fingertips come to on the ruler. They should ideally be able to reach at least as far as the front of the step. Any measurement past the edge of the step is a bonus. No matter how far you can reach on the first measurement, do the test periodically and try to improve your score every few weeks.

If you find that you are less flexible than you should be, some regular stretching exercises combined with visits to your chiropractor can help to restore flexibility and improve range of motion, helping to ensure that you remain limber into older age.

 

Advertisements
07
Jan
13

How Does Chiropractic Help Increase Range of Motion and Flexibility?


When we’re younger, it’s easy to take our extensive range of motion and flexibility for granted.  But as we age, a number of health conditions and the cumulative effects of wear and tear can affect our ability to move the way we used to.  When this happens it can be difficult to carry on the activities of daily life.  Even things as simple as picking ysomething up off the floor or tying your shoes can be challenging activities when your movements are curtailed.  Luckily, regular chiropractic care can help increase both range of motion and flexibility.

A study performed in 2001 by researchers at the Phillip Chiropractic Research Centre of RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, and published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that chiropractic adjustments increased range of motion in the 105 patients who participated in the study.  There were three phases of this study, in which each of the participants was given no adjustments, fake adjustments or true adjustments.  In each phase, the patients who were given the true adjustments showed a significant improvement in range of motion, which was not the case for the other two groups.

A decrease in range of motion and flexibility can result in a downward spiral of disability.  An injury or degenerative condition can cause pain, swelling and stiffness, limiting flexibility and range of motion.  So we avoid activities that involve the affected body parts, either consciously or unconsciously.  This then becomes a classic case of “use it or lose it”.  Without regular exercise, the muscles and joints stiffen, adhesions and scar tissue can form, and mobility is further reduced.  Eventually, a person can become completely incapacitated.

A chiropractor uses spinal adjustments and manipulations to other parts of the body to realign the bones and joints so as to reduce pain, restore range of motion, and improve flexibility, balance and coordination.  These adjustments may be performed manually, or other techniques may be used to increase circulation and improve function, such as ultrasound, trigger point therapy and electrical stimulation.  Your chiropractor can also recommend specific exercises that can be done at home to increase your strength and flexibility so that you’re able to maintain and build upon the gains from your chiropractic adjustments.

Many people restrict their activities due to back pain, which is the most common complaint of those who enter a chiropractor’s office.  Regular chiropractic care can reduce or eliminate the source of your back and joint pain, allowing you to resume your normal activities and to remain more flexible into your golden years.

Dr P. Dubois, DC, CCSP.

Pierre DuboisDr. Dubois,a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

 




Check out our Archives

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 147 other followers


%d bloggers like this: