Joints are vital to our movement, and they are held together by ligaments and tendons that attach to bones. In order for joints to move, tendons and ligaments must stretch and tear, which is what causes joint pain. If this is an issue for you, there are a variety of treatments that can be used to improve your joint mobility.

Have you ever had a gout attack? A gout attack is a painful, crippling disease that affects middle-aged and older men. It occurs when uric acid crystals build up in the body. These deposits are from your body’s natural breakdown of a particular protein called purine. Your body uses purine as a source of energy, but it can also combine with other substances to form uric acid. If this happens, your body will not be able to get rid of uric acid, and it will accumulate in your body.

As a person with arthritis, you have probably experienced pain, discomfort, and limitations when trying to move your joints. You may have it so bad that you are unable to do some of your daily activities. With the onset of arthritis, your bones and joints lose their ability to move freely, and you have to rely on your muscles and shoulders to do all the work. If you are experiencing pain and discomfort from arthritis, then you are at a high risk for developing other complications such as kidney stones, chronic back pain, and circulation problems.

We re-educate and repair our movement towards a healthy range of motion by intentionally exercising joint mobility.

What is dynamic joint mobility, and how does it work?

Dynamic Joint Mobility (DJM) is when someone actively moves a joint through its range of motion (ROM), with the aim of improving the joints’ mobility via precise movement practice.

What DJM isn’t:

  • holding a joint in place statically
  • extending a joint’s range of motion
  • someone or something else passively moving the joint across its range of motion

DJM: Let’s take a look at the past.

DJM has a lengthy history, primarily as a component of martial arts techniques like T’ai Chi, Qi Gong, and Bagua Zhang.

Modern martial arts, such as Russian Systema, include it, especially the floor moves.

 

There has been a revival of interest in Indian clubs for upper body and shoulder therapy, in addition to bodyweight exercises (see DVD in resource section below). Body joints are moved in various planes and through their entire range of motion throughout club sessions.

 

 

By the mid-nineteenth century, the physical culture of richer joint mobility, which included calisthenics, rope climbing, and club swinging, had faded. Since then, gym workouts have mainly focused on training in restricted planes and ROM.

Specific joint mobility exercise outside of the martial arts environment has been created in the twenty-first century via programs like Intu-flow, Super Joints, Spiralflow, and Z-Health. These programs are intended to reintroduce joint mobility training and help people overcome the constraints of limited gym motions and sedentary lives.

What is the significance of dynamic joint mobility?

Our bodies are malleable, and we adjust to our surroundings on a regular basis. When we acquire new physical abilities and develop new bodily tissues, we exhibit signs of adaptability. The same concept holds true for our brains and neurological systems. We are creatures that “use it or lose it.”

Because our design is so physically linked, what occurs on one site affects others.

For example, if the range of motion in our ankle joints is limited from its usual range, it may affect our stride. To compensate for this limitation, our knees and/or hips may alter movement to support the ankles’ omission. Many times a day, we practice this hampered stride, allowing our muscles and associated tissues to adapt to maintain our “unique” gait.

This adaptation may have unpleasant consequences: a stroll that pushes our knees beyond of their usual range of motion may damage our knees. Similarly, our hips may be yanked out of their natural alignment, resulting in low back discomfort.

The “site of discomfort is not necessarily the cause of pain,” as movement experts frequently remark, is due to this cascade. Restricted squat depth and poor running economy are common symptoms of limited joint ROM.

We acquire the body we practice having as use-it-or-lose-it creatures.

On the positive side, greater practice equals a better physique.

We re-educate and repair our movement towards a healthy range of motion by intentionally exercising joint mobility.

DJM training has a number of advantages.

Sensory motor benefits of proprioception

Joint activity benefits us neurologically, in addition to the physiological advantages of moving joints through their range of motion. Joints are important triggers for sensory-motor awareness. Visual (vision), vestibular (balance), and proprioceptive (where we are in space) systems form a sensory-motor hierarchy through which we perceive the world. Proprioceptive nerves, which inform the brain where we are in space and how quickly each part of us is moving, are abundant in joints.

Injury prevention

Athletes who trained increasing ankle mobility/proprioception responded better to simulated stumbling than those who did not. In older women at risk of hip fractures, mobility exercises as part of balance and resistance training was shown to have a significant impact on decreasing the number of falls.

Micro DJM

Someone may utilize “micro DJM” to counteract excessive repetition typing/writing.

The majority of typing is done with finger flexion rather than extension. Wrist, hand, and finger mobility exercises allow us to get in repetitions that balance extension or flexion with up, down, side to side, and back and forth motions, all of which are part of this joint’s potential. These basic techniques may help to restore joint mobility while also reducing the consequences of diseases like repetitive strain injury.

Reduced strength and clogged joints

The nervous system is built first and foremost for survival, not for performance. When the nervous system senses a problem with its function, such as a joint that can’t move correctly, it reduces power to the rest of the system (so the compromised component doesn’t put the whole system at danger).

This is a worldwide shutdown. Reduced quad muscle strength may be observed as a result of a jammed joint in the foot. Opening up the blocked joint, on the other hand, may restore power. The “arthrokinetic reflex” was coined to describe this occurrence decades ago.

Mike T Nelson, a Z-Health Master Trainer, shows how jammed and unjammed joints affect the function of any other muscle.

 

How does DJM stack up against…

…stretching?

Stretching has become the most popular warm-up and cool-down technique. When a lifter’s range of motion is limited, we hear about “tight muscles” that need to be “stretched out.” We also know that elongating a muscle isn’t always a good idea (for example, before a big lift). More information may be found at All About Warming Up.

DJM may help you enhance your performance without the drawbacks of static stretching. A DJM exercise like the outside toe pull (explained here, shown above) may directly affect the hamstrings, increasing hip ROM.

…rolling in foam?

Foam rolling is becoming more popular as a way to work on what is thought to be constricted fascia, trigger points, and/or “tight” muscles. These methods often concentrate on the source of the problem as the location of the problem, rather than investigating why the tightness has developed in the first place.

Working on joint mobility across the body allows previously tight regions to loosen up and, more importantly, remain open. Foam rolling is also passive from the viewpoint of the body, since it is an act performed on a portion of the body by something else, thus it involves less of the nervous system.

Body mechanics: active vs. passive

DJM is an active model, rather than a passive one, in which the body is actively involved in movement, causing more neurons to fire in order to learn how to repeat these movement patterns on its own. It’s the difference between having someone place their hands on our wrists and leading us through a tennis swing vs doing it yourself, for example.

In the Essentials of Elite Performance Mini Course, Eric Cobb explains the distinctions between active and passive treatment.

 

Proprioception & pain

Pain is a kind of neurological signaling produced by the nociceptor, another proprioceptive nerve.

Around joints, there are often more mechanoreceptors (nerves that detect touch, movement, and position) than nociceptors. Most nociceptors transmit their impulses several hundred times quicker than mechanoreceptive nerves. This implies that correct joint mobility may convey a far stronger and quicker signal to the body than pain.

Imagine a room where someone starts singing God Save The Queen – if they’re the only one singing, they can be heard very well. It’s difficult not to hear them if they’re the only one making a noise.

Imagine a room full of 100 people singing Oh Canada. Which song will someone at the far end of the room hear? The song was, of course, performed by a hundred individuals.

When mechanorecptors activate as a result of appropriate joint movement, this overpowering Oh Canada impact seems to be what occurs to pain. (It also simply summarizes the 1867 Confederation.)

This impact helps to explain why individuals who practice DJM report feeling less pain and having more energy.

Conclusions and suggestions

1. Joint mobility is essential for general health and function.

We’ve seen how one jammed joint anywhere in the body lowers whole body strength, but that releasing one joint increases performance instantly. Our bodies are built to move across a wide range of motion and in many planes.

Sedentary people seldom have complete range of motion in all joints. Because our bodies are built to adapt to what we do, a lack of mobility may rapidly turn into movement limitations, which can lead to a variety of health problems, including tight muscles and arthritis.

2. This same plasticity, on the other hand, may adapt rapidly to movement practice.

A DJM practice that is purposefully planned offers enormous and fast advantages for well-being and re-educating our body on how our limbs should move. These routines may save time by moving each bodily joint through its full range of motion in only 10 minutes.

3. Obtain the services of a mobility coach.

Mobility exercise, like any other movement, requires the development of skills. While there are DJM programs available on DVD, a coach can guarantee quality of movement and expedite development by providing direction and assistance (listings below).

Resources

Linked Listing for movement coaches (the PN’s tips for choosing a personal trainer also apply here).

Cobb, E., Mauck, K., Mauck, K., Mauck, K., Mauck, K., Mauck, K., Mauck, K., Mauck, K., Mauck, K., Mauck, K., Mauck, K (DVDs and manuals). Arizona, USA: Z-Heath Performance Solutions, 2006.

The Essentials of Elite Performance (DVD Mini-Course) Z-Heath Performance Solutions, Arizona USA, 2010. Cobb, E, Mauck, K, Mauck, S. The Essentials of Elite Performance (DVD Mini-Course) Z-Heath Performance Solutions, Arizona USA, 2010.

Gray Cook, Brett Jones, Brett Jones, Brett Jones, Brett Jones, Brett Jones, Brett Jones, Brett Jones, Brett Essentials of Club Swinging (with Ed Thomas) (DVD). Functional Movement, Virginia, United States of America, 2010.

References

To see the information sources mentioned in this article, go here.

Owen Anderson, Anderson, Anderson “Can proper proprioceptive training help you avoid getting hurt?” Bulletin on Sports Injuries (no year, but after 2001)

Blakeslee S & Blakeslee M. The Body Has a Mind of Its Own: How Body Maps in Your Brain Help You Do (Almost) Everything Better. Random House, NY, 2008.

8 European Weightlifter Federations: a Brief History of Their Centenaries, edited by W. Baszanowski. This is a special issue. EWF Secretariat, European Weightlifter, 2005.

Butler D & Moseley LG. Explain Pain. Noigroup Publications, Australia, 2003.

The SPEAR System and Converting Flinch Response, Law and Order, 2003. Cobb, E., and Pincus, R.

Fortune Magazine, October 19, 2006, Colvin, What it Takes to Be Great.

Norman Doige’s The Brain That Changes Itself is a book about a brain that changes itself. Middlesex, UK: Penguin, 2007.

T. Deliagina, T. Deliagina, T. Deliagina, T. Deliagina, T. Deliagina, T. Deliagina, T. Deliagina, T. Deliagina, T. Deliagina, T. Deliagina, T

From Wolff’s law to the Utah paradigm: new insights into bone physiology and clinical implications, Frost HM. Anat Rec., vol. 262, no. 4, pp. 398-419, 2001.

A randomized, controlled study of a multi-component exercise program to prevent functional decline and bone fragility in older women living at home. Karinkanta S, et al. Osteoporos Int., vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 453-62, 2007.

E. Lederman, E. Lederman, E. Lederman, E. Lederman, E. Lederman, E. Lederman, E. Lederman, E. Lederman, E. Lederman, E. Lederman London: Churchill Livingstone, 2010.

“Low Back Pain,” Clinical Evidence, BMJ Publishing Group Limited, October 2008. McIntosh, G., and Hall, H.

Myers, T. Anatomy Trains: Myofascial Meridians for Manual and Movement Therapists. 2nd Ed CHURCHILL LIVINGSTON London & New York, 2008.

Somatosensory plasticity and motor learning, Ostry DJ, et al. The official publication of the Society for Neuroscience, The Journal of Neuroscience, 30(15), 5384-5393.

Riemann BL, & Lephart SM. (2002) The Sensorimotor System, Part II: The Role of Proprioception in Motor Control and Functional Joint Stability. Journal of Athletic Training 2002;37(1):80-84.

There is a big difference between static and dynamic joint mobility. Static joint mobility is when one particular joint moves through a full range of motion (ROM) while the other stays at rest. Dynamic joint mobility is when the joint moves through a full range of motion (ROM) while both joints are moving.. Read more about mobility training and let us know what you think.

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