Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Importance of Movement

By Darryl Gomes  Certified Athletic Therapist, Osteopathic Thesis Writer, Registered Kinesiologist

What is Movement?

Movement is the ability to take something from one area to another. Our ability to move and perform daily tasks efficiently requires our musculoskeletal system to coordinate a series of complex movements seamlessly and effortlessly. Whether we are walking in the mall, riding a bike, or shoveling snow, our body has to have the capacity to move in order to get things done.

What Happens if We Lack Movement?

Your body is a unique machine: if something isn't moving properly, it will find a way to make it work through compensations.

What is Meant by Compensation?

Every joint in your body should have the ability to move through a full range without limitations. If there is a restriction in a joint, then the body will recruit other areas of the body to produce the movement required. 

A typical example of compensation is experienced in the spine. You should have the ability to flex, extend, side bend and rotate at each spinal segment. If one segment cannot flex forward (the hypomobile segment which has no movement), you create a hypermobile segment (too much movement) above and below the problematic segment to flex forward more. As a unit, the spine would still be able to flex. However, biomechanically, the spine would not be moving efficiently as you have areas in the spine that are in compensation.

Is This Something I Should be Concerned About?

The simple answer is yes, as you don't want to be creating areas of hypomobility and hypermobility since it will lead to inefficient movement patterns in the body over time. 

Here's the Truth About Compensations

We all live with compensations. Your body would not be able to function without the ability to compensate! Think about it: if you have ever sprained your ankle, then you know it hurts for a while before you start using it again. 

However, if the pain lingers or you notice you develop new pains as a result, then that is a sign of your body not being able to compensate to fix the original problem. This is where chronic problems and long term pain develop.

Does Movement Only Apply to the Musculoskeletal System?

No. The internal organs and vessels also have to move. Surgeries and inflammation are examples of problems that can restrict movement internally and which can affect the function of the various organ systems.

So How Can I Encourage Better Movement?

  • Exercise is one the best ways to encourage movement. Yoga is a great way to stretch muscles and emphasize better range through your joints.
  • Proper nutrition is required for your body to help build and maintain healthy tissues.
  • Osteopathic treatment to help identify, correct and integrate positive changes is necessary to re-establish movement.
If you have any questions about this blog, or osteopathy in general, feel free to email me or call the clinic for a free 15 minute consultation.

Stay active!