There was a time when I didn’t think mobility was that important. I used to think it was for yogis or the other side, you know, the side that was older and injured. Listen up though young bloods, if you enhance your joint health now and get into the every day habit of doing something for your joints, you will have no regrets.
Each joint in the body affects every other joint in the body, directly the joints surrounding the said joint, but indirectly, no joint escapes a rust joint. Case in point: I went to see my paternal grandmother in her nursing home a few weeks ago. She will be 95 years old this upcoming year and she is wheel chair bound, although she is better functioning than a lot of the other folks in there. She sits slumped in her chair, knees, ankles, hips, all shot and immobile after being stuck like this for a few years. Do you know how it all started? Losing mobility in her thoracic spine. Yes, old people start their march towards the nursing home when they can no longer wipe their behinds by themselves.
This seems silly, but it’s true. Usually that goes hand in hand with already being in a walker and having kyphotic posture on a daily basis. Falling as an old person? This is due to immobile hips and shuffling. Do a quick observation and see which old people seem more likely to fall, those with greater strength and hip mobility or those taking safer steps and no hip mobility. Again, let the marching music begin.
When I was couch ridden and wheel chair ridden with my knee injury, what do you think happened? My hips got all jacked up and out of whack and both ankles started bothering me. Shortly after, my lumbar spine became too mobile because of forced immobile hips and my back went out. Mobility will find its way into places it shouldn’t be when it’s taken away from an area that needs mobility.
The joint-by-joint theory states that the body is a stack of joints, and it follows a pattern:
|Ankle Joint||Knee Joint|
|Hip Joint||Lumbar Region|
|Thoracic Region||Scapulothoracic Joint|
|Glenohumeral Joint||Elbow Joint|
Basically, one joint is mobile and the next joint is stable (or designed for stability) and so on. If you lose stability in one joint, that stability will often travel to a surrounding mobile joint and vice versa. This is often why immobile hips lead to lumbar spine problems. The lumbar spine is designed for stability.
Unless there is a direct trauma injury such as a blow to the knee, the pain can usually be traced to a soft tissue knot or surrounding joint. Unfortunately in our medical system, the doctors, personal trainers and others usually try to treat the site of the pain when you could treat the origination of the pain and it will go away. It is like having a leak in the ceiling, and patching the hole on the ceiling instead of going on top of the roof and fixing the problem.
I try not to give my clients specific times for working out, only that they do it. Some people will take longer than others to get loose and some people will be tighter in some areas and so on. Joint mobility is directly affected by soft tissue function. Don’t neglect the non-sexy stuff, it will keep you healthy for a long time to come.