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Loosen up those stiff joints

stretching routine

By: C. Ashley Border, DPT

At some point or another in life we experience joint stiffness. What actually is “joint stiffness?” It is a
situation in the body where we feel tightness in the parts of our body that bend, like the elbows, wrists,
shoulders, hips, knees, neck, lower back, and ankles.

Below are some of the most common causes of joint stiffness:

 muscular tightness
 capsular/ligamentous tightness
 muscle weakness causing poor joint alignment and tracking
 loss of joint space with osteoarthritis
 rheumatoid arthritis
 structural damage from wear and tear or injury and the resulting inflammation

Joint stiffness presents with the sensation of not being able to fully rotate, bend, or extend a joint in the
body. Reaching and stretching may become limited with everyday activities. Reaching overhead for a
cup in a shelf may feel limited by shoulder stiffness, and bending forward to tie your shows may feel
limited by lower back stiffness. All of this joint stiffness should be taken as a warning sign that the joint
needs attention! The inability to fully move a joint may be a result from inflammation caused by one (or
more) of the reasons listed above. Stiffness in a joint is the first stop on the path to PAIN!

Joint stiffness and breakdown, especially as the body ages, is a definite reality, however it is a reality
that can be addressed and treated with more than medication. A physical therapist here at Loudoun
Sports Therapy Center can evaluate, diagnose, and create a treatment plan for your joint stiffness. The
main treatments for joint stiffness include: skilled joint mobilization, soft tissue mobilization, education
on what is happening with your body, specific strength and stability exercises, range of motion
exercises, and correction of body mechanics to protect the joints affected…and really all of the joints in
the body.

CLICK HERE for more on how physical therapy can help you.

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