Mobility – The combination of flexible connective tissue and muscles, with joints and vertebrae that move in their intended full range of motion.
When you are trying to become more flexible or decrease your discomfort through mobility techniques you are on the right track. You can go get a deep tissue massage, acupuncture, a chiropractic adjustment, or treatment from a physiotherapist. All of these options are great but they all have two fundamental problems. You can’t do them everyday, and you can’t do them yourself. Unless your treatment plan has been specifically set up to receive such frequent treatments, then these fantastic options to help us move and feel better are few and far between. Typically we deal with some mild discomfort until it becomes “bad enough” to warrant a trip to a treatment facility. We feel better after treatment and repeat the process.
Sometimes we live with the discomfort or pain for much, much longer than we would like. It could come down to not being able to afford the amount of treatment we need, not being able to fit it in our schedules, or the therapists have no time slots available. In the long run our symptoms and pain increase little by little and it becomes “the norm.” You can have a new normal, it doesn’t have to be that way.
This way of dealing with discomfort (pain-treatment-repeat) effects our quality of life, energy levels, and mood, among other factors. When we are restricted physically, we then become restricted mentally. We think to ourselves “I can’t do that, or I will make make my issue worse.” Our freedom to move and enjoy life becomes more and more restrictive with each passing day of pain and discomfort. When your body is in a state of discomfort it drains A LOT of neurological energy, forces physical compensations, and has the mental drain of the “I can’t” mindset. Our ability to deal with external stressors becomes harder and harder when our energy is focused on trying to heal or compensate a physical problem. No wonder we seek out pain professionals to help!
What if we could take those principles from the various fields of pain management professionals and apply it everyday, or at least when you know you need it most? Instead of relying on an appointment and paying for each visit, you can empower yourself to take care of your own body. You can use the plethora of information provided by your health professionals to help you, help yourself.
This is what I teach my clients right from the start of Movement Specialist Training. The focus at the start of training is ensuring that you can move freely. Instead of being concerned with making you sweat, or making you “feel the burn”, we make sure that your pain and discomfort is at an acceptable level. That level varies for each person but it certainly means that you can move in comfort at the very least. The goal is to reduce and eliminate pain and discomfort over time. If there is no pain or discomfort there can still be a significantly restricted range of motion in any of our joints, which eventually leads to pain or discomfort (especially when introducing new exercise). When we can move properly, then we can strengthen and stabilize in a highly effective way. We can then become structurally balanced. The front, back, left, and right sides of our body all in harmony. Doesn’t that sound nice?
At this point you may ask: “So how do I know what’s right for me? I mean, what mobility techniques should I do?”
That is a great question and extremely important on our fitness journey. It varies quite a bit for each person as you can imagine. It depends on so many factors like; how often you sit, sleep habits, muscle overuse, muscle underuse, injuries, movement habits, and so much more. The best way to figure out what’s best for you is to have a Movement Assessment done. This will give you the exact recipe for what your individual body needs. You can also use each of the other health professionals mentioned earlier to gain insight on your particular body. Massage therapists can identify your muscular trigger points, physiotherapy can show you how to improve range of motion in your joints, chiropractic care can give you a world of knowledge (provided you go to the right one), and acupuncture can help you identify how intricately the body is connected. Each profession can provide much more than just those examples but you get the idea. They can be educational visits rather than just relief visits.
This is where you come in. This is where you step up and take action. You can help yourself and you don’t need to rely on anyone if you choose not to. Instead of needing an appointment you can choose to have one to help out, gain some insight, or do some of the areas/techniques that you haven’t mastered. Sometimes its just easier and more effective having someone else help you but that doesn’t mean you have to depend on them. Dependancy can rob us of our freedom to move and enjoy life. In some cases it can literally train your body to need that treatment. Instead of your body adapting and healing it is relying on the treatment like clockwork. This is where you want to choose your professionals and relief techniques wisely. Better yet, learn how to become self dependant.
I have helped hundreds of clients discover Everyday Mobility. It is a specific, targeted approach to get you moving – pain free. It immediately helps with tight muscles and restricted joints. Clients report feeling better and having improvement each time they perform the routine. The best part is that it is catered to what you like first and foremost, and then what is highly effective next. Some techniques use simple tools like a lacrosse ball or foam roller. Some techniques require just your body and specific positioning, combined with dynamic movements.
The main idea is that you can perform it on a daily basis. Instead of waiting for your body to start hurting, dealing with it for a week or two, and then getting treatment, it offers a much better approach. Get loose, and stay loose. Identify your tight, overworked areas and give them attention before it leads to pain. Once the basics of breathing, learning to relax the muscle your intending to release, and the various positions/techniques are learned, you are set for life. You can change, manipulate, adapt, or use the techniques in a variety of ways. Your body awareness goes through the roof. All of a sudden you can identify and solve physical issues before they become a literal pain in the back. Take care of your own body on your terms. It is incredibly empowering to take over your pain and discomfort and replace it will comfort.
While improving mobility is only half of the long term pain solution, it is the most crucial. It is needed whether you have a desk job or you are a professional athlete. It can bring you instant relief and lead to less compensations for the rest of your body. The next article will look at the other half of the equation. If you were paying attention, it was mentioned earlier in this article. We will see if you know what it is! Stay tuned for Workout Wednesdays post!!