Want to stop the aches and pains? This will help!
Karl from Vitruvian Health shares a different form of self maintenance which can ease restriction and pain.
Back pain, neck pain, achy feet, tight hips… Sound familiar? As nurses and midwives spend most of their time on their feet, the end of a 10+ hour day can result in many aches, pains and overall tightness throughout the body.
Left untreated, tightness, aches and pains can morph into restricted ranges of movement through the joints and increases your chances of developing an injury.
When we say treatment, we don’t mean that you need to have a physio appointment booked in at the end of every shift. Rather the key to treating, and resolving pain, as well as improving joint and tissue restrictions is… mobility.
What is mobility?
Mobility is the performance of basic ‘self-maintenance’ on your body by doing exercises that mobilise your tissue health. In the same way that you need to clean the lint build up from your dryer, you need to perform regular maintenance on your body to prevent problems from occurring (the lint building up) that result from tissues that have become stiff and dysfunctional (the dryer catching on fire).
Dr Kelly Starrett is a big supporter of mobility exercises and promotes the daily practice of a strategic and systematic approach to mobility exercises, combined with movement and restorative promoting lifestyle and nutrition choices that aim to release any soft tissue restrictions that could be limiting your range of movement.
He describes the aim of mobility as addressing your ability to engage your muscles coupled with how well your tissues (skin, nerves, muscles and tendons) slide and glide over each other and around your joints. A common term used to describe this is ‘myofascial work’.
Mobility is NOT the same as stretching
Beware of the trap of thinking that mobility is stretching. When people stretch, they usually bring the joint or tissue into a position where tension is felt, and then hold it (e.g. in a lunge pressing your hips forwards). Stretching like this will not promote the same release, restoration and strengthening like mobility will through the application of tension and slight movement at end range. In fact, static stretching will actually make the muscle weaker, rather than stronger, increasing your chances of injury.
Mobility also helps to improve your posture
In another one of our articles, we talked about poor posture and how this results from assuming positions unique to our modern world that challenge the daily functioning of our musculature.
Adopting a regular practice of mobility, in addition to your daily exercise regime, can help your body adapt to being in constant motion, and you won’t have a chance to stiffen into any one position, eg forward rounding shoulders.
Start your mobility journey today with 1 exercise – shoulder dislocates
The only unfortunate thing about this exercise is its name.. Don’t worry you won’t actually dislocate your shoulder from doing this exercise!
Shoulder dislocates can be performed using a towel, band or a dowel. It focuses on opening up and strengthening the muscles in your shoulder.
Everytime we are sitting in a desk posture, we are putting the tissues around the front of the shoulder, chest and neck in a shortened state, while all the muscles in the upper back are put in a lengthened state. This makes it difficult to pull the shoulders back into a good position.
Shoulder dislocates work the shoulder through all of its movements: pronation, elevation, retraction, depression. Doing this promotes the engagement and strengthening of the anterior shoulder muscles so that they pull the shoulder joint backwards, which then enables the front shoulder muscles to release.
How to perform shoulder dislocates
- Grab a band, towel or dowel (broomstick);
- Hold the band with both hands. Hands will be wider than your hips. The tighter you are, the further apart your hands need to be. The aim is to keep your arms straight the whole time.;On your inhale, lift your shoulder up near your ears, then lift your arms up over your head;
- Pull your stomach and ribs in;
- Without bending your arms, as you exhale, let your arms fall over your head while pulling your chest up (ribs in) so your arms and the band are behind you. You are aiming for the band to touch your bum. The tighter you are, the less range you have;
- Once you reach your end point, squeeze your upper back, take a deep breath in, lift your arms and as you do so, lift your shoulders up towards your ears;
- Exhale as your arms come back down in front of you back to your starting position;
- Repeat 10 times.
Here’s a video with Karl explaining how to do a shoulder dislocate.
This content was kindly provided by Vitruvian Health.