The Relationship Between Joint Mobility And Stability And How To Improve
Joints are like the switches of the body, allowing muscles to communicate and work together. Without them, muscles would be a tangled mess of disjointed parts, unable to coordinate effectively or accomplish anything.
That is why joint mobility and stability are so critical. Joints serve both to keep the body stable, allowing it to move in a coordinated manner, and also provide flexibility, allowing the body to move freely. While too much of either can be detrimental, when there is an appropriate balance between joint mobility and stability, it allows for optimal performance and reduced risk of injury.
In this article, we will explore the 10 main joints and discuss what joint mobility and stability are, why they matter, and how to improve them.
The 10 Main Joints
The human body is made up of many different types of joints, but 10 main joints are especially important to consider when discussing mobility and stability.
Each joint has a primary role and an overlapping secondary role. Inspecting them under a microscope can help you ascertain what role they play.
The mobility joints are:
- thoracic spine
The stability joints are:
- Lumbar Spine
- Cervical Spine
What Is Joint Stability And Mobility?
Joint stability is the ability of a joint to remain in a fixed position and resist unwanted movement. Mobility, on the other hand, is the ability of a joint to move freely through its range of motion.
When it comes to joint stability, strong ligaments and muscles are important for providing support and maintaining the correct posture. Since a stable joint has enough ligament and muscle strength to keep it in a fixed position but is also flexible enough to move.
On the other hand, joint mobility refers to a joint’s ability to move freely through its range of motion. It is important for joint mobility that the ligaments and muscles be strong enough to move the joint, but not too strong to hinder the joint’s ability to move.
Why Mobility And Stability Matter
Joint mobility and stability are critical for optimal performance in any physical activity. An unhealthy range of motion leads to overextension or the inability to extend the joint, where both can lead to pain and strain on surrounding structures, such as ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Instead, by having a balance between joint mobility and stability, you can help reduce the risk of injury or dysfunction by providing the body with a stable foundation when moving.
For instance, overextension or hypermobility is the result of the ligamentous laxity surrounding the joints. Not to mention, the weakening of the muscles surrounding the joints is also the culprit behind hypermobility.
Conversely, an overly tight joint can lead to a restricted range of motion or stiffness due to either a lack of flexibility or weakened muscles. This can cause pain and lead to an increased risk of injury by limiting the body’s range of motion. Not to mention, joint stiffness can result in joint degeneration over time, manifesting as pain, loss of function, and reduced endurance.
Preventing this is why mobility and stability are so important. Having an appropriate balance between joint mobility and stability allows for fluid movement and proper posture, reducing the risk of injury.
Improve Your Mobility, Stability, And Flexibility
Luckily, the body is capable of adapting to changes in mobility and stability. The key is to start with a few simple exercises and drills that can help improve joint flexibility, mobility, and stability.
SMR stands for self-myofascial release. These exercises focus on the fascia surrounding muscles and joints to break up any adhesions and promote the proper flow of blood.
Foam rollers, lacrosse balls, and tennis balls can all serve as effective tools for massaging and releasing tight muscles and adhesions.
Here is one SMR exercise you can try:
Thoracic Spine Extension
- Lie on your back with a foam roller horizontally under the shoulder blades.
- Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Position your hands behind your head and bring your chin to your chest.
- Lean back onto the foam roller and inhale. As you exhale, use your core to lift the upper body off the foam roller while extending the thoracic spine as far back as you can.
- Hold the position for a few seconds and then repeat the same movement.
- Do this exercise for 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.
Mobility exercises are designed to improve joint range of motion and stability. These exercises can help improve performance and range of motion while reducing the risk of injury by carrying out a series of movements. Stiffness can be abated and mobility improved by doing a variety of exercises that target the joints.
Here is one mobility exercise you can try:
Squat to Stand
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands by your sides.
- Bend forward at the hip joint and squat down while placing your hands on your feet in front of you.
- Inhale and exhale as you stand up while stretching your arms up and back.
- Hold this pose for a few seconds then bring your hands back to your sides.
- Repeat this exercise for 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.
The goal of activation drills is to improve the relationship between joint mobility and stability. These exercises help stimulate the nervous system, which is responsible for transmitting signals to the muscles to contract and relax. By strengthening the muscle groups around a particular joint, activation drills can help improve posture, balance, and stability while reducing the risk of injury.
Here is one activation drill you can try:
- Start in a four-point position on the floor with your hands and knees shoulder-width apart.
- Lift your right knee off the ground and hold for a few seconds.
- Bring your right knee slightly out to the side then return it down to the ground.
- Repeat this exercise for 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps on each side.
Stretches help to increase flexibility and improve joint range of motion. They’re also incredibly important for improving posture, reducing the risk of injury, and improving overall performance.
Here is one flexibility stretch you can try:
- Lie on your back with your legs extended and arms spread out to the sides.
- Bend your knees and place them together so that the bottoms of your feet are together.
- Allow your knees to fall to the right side while you exhale and twist your body by reaching across with your left arm.
- Hold this stretch for a few seconds and then repeat the same movement on the other side.
- Do this exercise for 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.
If you are suffering from joint pain that is not responsive to conservative treatment, consulting with your healthcare provider is recommended. Minimally invasive treatments such as ReActiv8® – Restorative Neurostimulation Therapy can help improve joint function while offering pain relief is a good option for those looking for relief from lower back pain
ReActiv8® – Restorative Neurostimulation Therapy To Treat Mechanical Chronic Low Back Pain
Joint mobility and stability are essential components of overall physical health. By understanding the importance of these two factors, you can become proactive in improving your well-being. The use of SMR exercises, mobility exercises, activation drills, and flexibility stretches can help improve joint mobility, stability, and flexibility. Taking this ardent approach will help stave off injury and dysfunction, preventing the occurrence of pain such as lower back pain.
If you suffer from lower back pain due to mechanical dysfunction, ReActiv8® is a restorative neurostimulation therapy that helps provide relief. This innovative patented technology uses muscle stimulation to improve your joint function, resulting in long-lasting pain relief and better quality of life.
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