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  • Writer's pictureDr. Rory Dopps

Do You Know How Much Your Joints Should Move and Why It's Important for Your Overall Health?



A chiropractor performing an adjustment on a patient's back, illustrating the benefits of chiropractic care for improving Range of Motion (ROM) and joint health.
An individual performing a dynamic stretching exercise, demonstrating how regular stretching can enhance flexibility and maintain optimal ROM.

Maintaining an optimal Range of Motion (ROM) is essential for preventing injuries, enhancing mobility, and improving overall quality of life. This article explores the significance of ROM, how it affects your health, and ways to assess and improve it.


Understanding Range of Motion (ROM)


Definition: Range of Motion (ROM) refers to the full movement potential of a joint, typically measured in degrees of a circle. It's a critical aspect of joint health, determining how far you can move or stretch a joint in different directions.


Types of ROM:


  • Active ROM (AROM): Movement performed by the individual without any assistance, which primarily affects the muscles.

  • Passive ROM (PROM): Movement performed with the help of an external force, such as a therapist, which affects both muscles and joint ligaments.

  • Para-Physiological Space (PPS): This is the area beyond the passive ROM and just before the anatomical barrier where joint popping occurs. It affects the joint's ligaments and can relieve tension, but must be approached with caution.


Importance of Maintaining Proper ROM


Joint Health: Proper ROM is vital for maintaining joint health by preventing stiffness and immobility. Regular movement helps keep the joints flexible, reducing the risk of developing chronic pain conditions.


Injury Prevention: Enhanced flexibility through proper ROM reduces the risk of strains and sprains. A flexible joint can better absorb shocks and distribute the stress of movement, thereby preventing injuries.


Quality of Life: Good ROM affects your ability to perform daily activities with ease. Whether it's reaching for something on a high shelf or participating in sports, maintaining flexibility ensures you can move efficiently and comfortably.


Assessing Your ROM


Self-Assessment Techniques: You can assess your ROM through simple exercises and stretches. Tools like goniometers or apps designed to measure joint angles can help you track your flexibility.


Professional Assessment: For a detailed analysis, consider seeking help from healthcare providers, such as chiropractors and physiotherapists. They can use advanced diagnostic tools to measure your ROM accurately and provide tailored advice.


Factors Affecting ROM


Age: As we age, our flexibility tends to decrease due to the natural aging process. Regular exercise is crucial to maintaining ROM, especially in older adults.


Activity Level: Active individuals generally have better ROM than those leading a sedentary lifestyle. Regular physical activity helps keep the joints flexible and prevents stiffness.


Injuries and Conditions: Acute injuries like sprains and fractures can temporarily reduce ROM, while chronic conditions such as arthritis and tendonitis can have a long-term impact.


The Role of Para-Physiological Space in Chiropractic Care


Joint Popping and PPS: Joint popping occurs in the para-physiological space, beyond the active and passive ROM, but before the anatomical barrier. This space is crucial in chiropractic adjustments where specific techniques are used to safely and effectively adjust joints. The popping sound is the result of gas bubbles in the synovial fluid being released, providing temporary relief and an endorphin rush.


Chiropractic Adjustments: Chiropractors are trained to manipulate the PPS safely, ensuring that adjustments do not exceed the anatomical barrier, which could cause damage. Adjustments in this space help to realign joints, reduce tension, and improve overall joint function.


Improving and Maintaining ROM


Stretching Exercises: Incorporating both dynamic and static stretches into your routine can significantly improve your ROM. Dynamic stretching, such as leg swings, is excellent for warming up, while static stretching, like holding a hamstring stretch, helps improve flexibility within the active ROM where muscles are primarily affected.


Strengthening Exercises: Strengthening the muscles that support your joints is equally important. Exercises targeting these muscles help maintain a balance between flexibility and strength, crucial for optimal joint function.


Chiropractic Care and Physiotherapy: Doctors of chiropractic can provide both chiropractic adjustments and physiotherapy. Chiropractic care addresses the PPS to realign joints, while physiotherapy offers personalized exercise plans and techniques to enhance flexibility and strength.


Conclusion


Understanding and maintaining your Range of Motion is crucial for preventing injuries, enhancing mobility, and improving overall quality of life. Regular assessments, proper exercise, and professional care are key to keeping your joints healthy and flexible.


Maintaining your ROM can be supported with tools like resistance bands. Resistance bands can be used to perform a variety of exercises that help improve flexibility, strength, and ROM. Additionally, Designs for Health's ArthroSoothe™ provides comprehensive support for joint health, helping to maintain proper function and flexibility, making it an ideal supplement to help improve and maintain ROM.


Interested in improving your Range of Motion? Visit doppskc.com to schedule a consultation with Dr. Rory Dopps and discover how chiropractic care can help enhance your mobility and overall health.

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