Mobility

Why mobility is so important?

Mobility is about the control of the range of motion one has in an action/movement around a joint.Our bodies are plastic: we constantly adapt to what we do. This adaptation shows up when we learn new physical skills and build new body tissues. The principle applies to our brains and nervous system, too. We are “use it or lose it” organisms. Our design is so physically interconnected that what happens at one site cascades to others. This cascade is often why movement specialists will say “the site of pain is not always the source of pain.” As use-it-or-lose-it organisms, we get the body we practice having. On the plus side, this means that better practice = better body. By practicing joint mobility with intent, we re-educate and rehabilitate our movement towards a healthier ROM.

Which are the benefits of mobility training?

1) Proprioception/Sensory motor benefits

Beyond the physiological benefits of moving joints through their ROM, joint work helps us neurologically: joints are key triggers for sensory-motor perception. We experience the world in a sensory-motor hierarchy of visual (vision), vestibular (balance) and proprioceptive (where we are in space) systems. Joints have a very high number of proprioceptive nerves that tell the brain where we are in space and how fast each part of us is moving.

2)Reducing injury

Studies have shown that mobility work as part of balance and resistance training in athletes/persons was found to have a profound effect on reducing the possibilities of injuries.

3)Jammed joints and reduced strength

The nervous system is designed for survival first, not performance. If the nervous system detects a problem in its function – like a joint that is not able to move properly – it more or less cuts down power to the rest of the system (so the compromised component doesn’t put the system at risk). This shutdown is global. Conversely, opening up the jammed joint can bring the power back on line. This phenomenon was first noted decades ago and labelled the “arthrokinetic reflex.”

4)Proprioception & pain

Pain is part of neurological signalling triggered by another proprioceptive nerve, the nociceptor.

Typically, there are more mechanoreceptors (nerves that sense touch, movement, and position) around joints than nociceptors. Mechcanoreceptive nerves send their signals several hundred times faster than most nociceptors. This means that proper joint movement can send a far stronger signal, faster, to the body than a pain signal can.

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