Range of motion (or ROM) refers to the distance and direction a joint can move in relation to its optimum potential. It is important to recognize that each joint has a specific ROM that is considered to be its normal.
Joints are designed by blending together strength and mobility. The function of a particular joint is dependent on the exact mixture of these two components. For example, the elbow is a hinge joint which supports average mobility with good strength. The shoulder joint is much different, it is a ball and socket joint and it sacrifices strength for near 360 degrees of mobility. In comparison, the shoulder joint provides for greater variability of movement than the elbow; unfortunately, it is this variability that makes the shoulder much more susceptible to injury.
Almost everyone over 40 has a story about an injury they experienced that has “never been the same.” Injuries that are not fully rehabilitated can leave scar tissue and diminished joint mobility. Many joints, like the knee, receive the majority of their nutrition and expulsion of wastes through the movement of joint fluid. Improper mobility leads to improper joint nutrition and the result is inevitably, degeneration. It seems there is a lot of truth to that old saying, “if you don’t use it you lose it!”
“The hip bone is connected to the leg bone, the leg bone is connected to the …” For some, physical injury or wear and tear can result in permanent impairment of the limbs or spine. A good example of this is found with the elderly – loss of neck ROM can result in the loss of the right to drive a vehicle. Beyond losing their license, the lack of ROM means decreased nutrition to the joint and their neck begins to degenerate more quickly. To compensate for the lack of neck mobility, their bodies tax other areas of their spine which can result in further injury.
Chiropractic focuses on restoring normal joint motion and function, which helps to diminish, and in some cases reverse, the process of degeneration. The earlier you receive chiropractic care, the faster you are able to resume your normal activities of daily living without discomfort and impairment. The most effective way to avoid unnecessary degeneration of your spine is though regular chiropractic check ups.