So what now science has proven that Stretching does not increase your range of motion? So what do we do now? Do we still continue doing stretching or do we find possible alternatives? This is one of the primary questions since even the physical agent modalities have failed in this part. As such what do we do now to address the limitations in range of motion? The common thing that happens specially from the place that I came form is that either the client keeps returning just to have the same thing done to them or the client just gets frustrated and then either do not return or look for other alternatives as the therapist has now lost his significance in reaching the clients goals. So as to give you alternatives as to what to do when stretching fails here are some possible replacements. Just as a basic disclaimer these principles that we will be going through are only some of the principles that can be used for improving the client’s range of motion, there might still be techniques out there that has the ability to increase range of motion that I have not heard of as such reading up or trying seminars out is still recommended.
For years healthcare has forgotten one of the important things for improving range of motion. Rehabilitation has been so focused on the structures and their functions that they have forgotten that other than the skeletal, neural and muscular structures. This has even been explored by a lot of people from the short works of Aristotle, Doctrines of Hippocrates and Plato by Galen and some of Hippocrates works. So what is this forgotten thing? For years medicine has been trying to separate things and look at them from the perspective of systems and somehow it forgot that these are all connected, that the mind affects the body. The mind affects the body by a lot specially the range of motion of the person. First of all the mind can limit one’s range of motion by triggering a response for a previous injury. This is one of the things that I found that stretching cannot improve. The primary reason being the body has a stretch reflex that once it reaches the part with the set limit provided by the mind, no matter how hard you stretch the affected structures the parts just snap back to its beginning ranges kind of like a reset. One of the principles used to manage and somehow by pass this is by using the principles Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation. The principle basically works on the basic sensation of the body letting the mind know that the motion is safe and not problematic, thus allowing for an increase in range of motion sometimes going beyond the normal range allowed by the joint. The second thing that the mind can do so as to limit ones range is to convince the person that the movement will definitely end up in a painful or problematic range as such range is limited. The body usually does this by changing the basic configuration of the structures. The common principle that can be used to address this is the basic motor- control principle that by making the body go back to the basic configuration allows the body to be able to function well. This is one of the things commonly questioned by the evidence based therapist or those that claim to be. The problem is that there is no available study on the limitation of motion and the structures or more specifically science has no way of doing this at this moment as such there is no study as of the moment. Another principle that can be used is the Mulligan principle the basic principle being teach the body to move properly while guided and it will do the movement itself without guidance. Just kind of a fun fact there are other mulligans than the Mulligan, because mulligan is kind of a term for making something out at the drop of a hat. The last thing that I will be talking about is that movement patterns can also be the cause of the limitation in the range as such movement retraining and martial arts is a good thing, that is aide from the part in which martial arts sometimes have those sparing components. The thing is movements patterns are learned by the body and are integrated to the movement of the person as a whole as such making the basic patterns better might show up as an increase in range of motion. This is the reason why now people are trying to say that the problem is either a physical or a mental problem but are trying to just limit things to one thing. This is how the body – mind connection can affect the range of motion of the body.
There are a lot more thing that can affect range of motion and I might be discussing them sometime in the future, Just so you know it is not limited to the ones discussed above.
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