Regardless of your fitness level, your ability to move is a critical part of your daily life that you probably take for granted. Whether you have a steady workout regime or not, it is important to take some time to focus on your general mobility. Managing your ease of movement can drastically decrease your risk of injury.
As a chiropractor, I regularly have conversations about managing movement and how it can impact a patient’s quality of life. One key way to maintain your functional health is to pay attention to the little things. Find a neutral posture or home base for your body and hold that position before doing anything, from getting out of your car at work to loading up that last heavy squat set at your favourite gym.
Two great examples of ways you can improve your mobility and stability at home include:
- Cat / Cow: Place your hands, knees and feet on the ground with your hands below your shoulders and your knees below your hips. Tuck your chin to your chest, arch your mid back towards the ceiling, and roll your sit bones towards the ground. Finish the movement by extending your chin upwards and dropping your chest then your low back, down towards the ground. Avoid any movements that cause pain.
- Core Bracing: Lay flat on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Place your fingers just inside the front of your hip bones and cough. When you cough you should feel your Transverse Abdominus muscle activate. Your Transverse Abdominus is an important muscle in stabilizing your spine. Once you have found this muscle, try to engage it without coughing. This simple exercise is a great way to help you engage your neutral posture before doing an activity like lifting something heavy.
Finding your neutral posture or home base can be challenging without optimal spinal and body wide joint mobility. Chiropractic care can improve your range of motion and enable you to reach a sturdy neutral position within your own body mechanics, reducing stress on your system and decreasing your risk of injury.
The start of any chiropractic treatment plan involves a thorough discussion and assessment. If you are suffering from lower back pain, the true cause may not even be apparent to you. Alleviating your pain and improving your mobility is usually more complicated than simply treating the injured area.
Therapies such as Active Release Technique®, Graston Technique®, low level laser, or shockwave are often used alongside traditional chiropractic treatment to deal with an injury or complaint. People whose work requires them to be seated for prolonged periods of time often experience back pain which requires treatment that addresses their joint restrictions in addition to their muscle tension, for example.
The most important part of any treatment plan however, lies in its execution. Finding a qualified chiropractor who can create the right combination of treatments for you, is the best way to decrease pain, increase function, and reduce re-aggravation. When searching for a chiropractor ensure you find someone who listens to you, completes a thorough assessment, and provides you with a clear understanding of their treatment plan. Make sure you have an open line of communication with your chiropractor and ask about the progress being made at each visit.
We are all creatures of habit and it can be easy to forget about maintaining our functional health and managing our movement. Don’t wait until you’re experiencing pain or limited mobility! Remind yourself that you can avoid injury and discomfort whether you’re at home, at work, or at play by thinking about your movement and identifying positions during your daily activities that might be causing you issues.
If you are having difficulty finding your neutral posture or are experiencing limited mobility and pain, a trip to the chiropractor could be just what you need.
Dr. Jordan MacIntyre – Flex Chiropractic & Performance