When joints and muscles feel stiff or tight, your range of motion might be compromised. Range of motion, or ROM, refers to how far your joint comfortably moves up, down and around a fixed starting point. People who’ve been injured, are aged or who’ve been sedentary for extended periods may have limited range of motion. Shoulders, elbows, back and knees are common areas that often experience ROM and flexibility issues. Stretching alone doesn’t always nip ROM problems in the bud, but combined with other non-surgical techniques, your range of motion may markedly improve.
5 Use the “PRICE” Guide
Sprains limit your range of motion due to joint swelling and pain. Cold packs reduce swelling and temporarily “deaden” pain so you feel like moving again. Protect, rest, ice, compress firmly and elevate your injury. You will have better results if you apply ice as soon as you can after your injury. Your range of motion should improve after “PRICE” treatment – at least for a while.
4 Joint Fluid Supplements
Greasing your joints with injections provides pain relief and allows for greater joint movement when cortisone or physical therapy isn’t getting the job done. Joint fluid is a temporary fix and can take up to 13 weeks to be effective. Hyaluronic acid is one common joint fluid supplement. Note that you won’t be cured and that you may eventually need joint replacement down the road. At least you’ll get some flexibility and range of motion back for a few weeks.
3 Massage Therapy
Therapeutic massage is an ancient art that increases joint and muscle flexibility and improves range of motion. Massage therapy works to improve ROM by using various types of pressure to relax muscles and other soft tissue connected to joints, releasing tension and pressure, allowing for greater range of motion. Swedish, deep tissue and sports massage are three types of therapeutic massage that improve ROM.
2 Physical Therapy (PT)
Physical therapists use passive range of motion, assisted range of motion and active range of motion in order to increase your joint mobility. Passive ROM requires no help from you as the physical therapist does all the work. Assisted ROM means that you help with the therapy as your condition will allow. Active ROM exercises are exercises that a physical therapist teaches you to do on your own. Often PT is used in conjunction with massage therapy to improve ROM.
1 Keep Moving!
Newton’s first law of physics states that a body in motion tends to stay in motion. The more you get your joints moving by regular exercise, whether it is stretching, walking or targeted movement, the more your joints should keep flexible enough to maintain a good ROM.