This is needed…but where?

I preach a lot about the importance of joint mobility and how it relates to our overall health. When we look at the body’s joints, some need more mobility than others There is a rehabilitation model known as the joint-by-joint approach. This model is straight-forward in that it looks at the body like a stack of joints. Do all of our joints need to be mobile? No. For every mobile joint, there is joint stability needed close by.

Starting from the ground up, the ankle needs to be mobile and sits on a stable foot. The knee is stable although in some cases knee flexion needs to be restored. The hip needs stability in the side to side plane (think of a running back moving laterally). However, the hip needs mobility in the planes that move us forward and backward and rotate. Mobility should come from the thoracic spine and sits on top of a stable lumbar spine. For all you rotational and throwing athletes like golfers and baseball pitchers, you absolutely need thoracic spine and hip mobility to prevent injury and take full advantage of power for optimal performance. For the shoulder complex, the glenohumeral joint (ball and socket) should be very mobile, while our scapulae (shoulder blades) provide stability. The middle to lower cervical spine needs stability but the upper cervical joints need mobility as most of our neck rotation happens here.

So there you have it! I know that was a whirlwind of information, but if the goal is eliminating pain or preventing injury, we have to consider which joints have to be mobile in order to keep someone healthy.

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