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Four Top Tips on How to Increase Range of Motion in Austin, TX

Can you bend down and touch your toes easily? Can you raise your arms above your head without pain?

If you have a limited range of motion, performing these simple tasks can be painful or even impossible. Your range of motion refers to how well you can move a joint or muscle in terms of how far and in what direction. While everyone is different, flexibility is important to your overall well-being.

Learning how to increase range of motion is often part of the injury recovery process. However, you can always work on improving flexibility to prevent injuries and the aches and pains so often associated with our modern sedentary lifestyle.

Spero Rehab provides physical therapy in Austin, TX, that helps patients become stronger and more mobile after an injury or surgery. Below, our team shares some simple tips for increasing range of motion and flexibility.

Why You Need to Increase Your Range of Motion

Before getting into how to increase range of motion, it’s useful to understand why improving your range of motion is so important.

While many people associate flexibility with athletes, the fact is that everyone needs flexible joints to enjoy the best quality of life. Completing many tasks of daily living, like getting dressed and tying your shoes, requires joint mobility. If your joints are stiff and inflexible, everything becomes more difficult — and potentially painful.

The effects of a limited range of motion can worsen over time. When the joints lack flexibility, the result can be imbalances in the surrounding muscles that affect the joint function. If your joint doesn’t move the right way, you not only have a higher risk of injury, but you’re also more likely to experience stiffness and pain.

Compensation is another potential issue that can stem from a limited range of motion. Without adequate flexibility in one joint, other parts of your musculoskeletal system work harder to support your movements. This extra strain can cause pain and put other joints or muscles in danger of injury due to overworking or improper mechanics.

Ideas From a Austin, Texas, Physical Therapist for How To Increase Your Range of Motion

Everyone’s range of motion is different. Some people can easily flow into the most complicated yoga poses or slide into the splits, while others have tighter joints that only allow them to go so far. However, you can improve your flexibility and range of motion with practice.

A physical therapist in Austin, Texas, can show you how to increase your range of motion safely. One of the most essential elements of improving your flexibility is to go slowly and focus on making progress over time. Pushing your body too hard and not listening to its cues can do more harm than good.

The typical program to improve range of motion includes the following elements.

1. Stretching

A stretching routine that incorporates dynamic and static stretches is the foundation of flexibility. While many people stretch before a workout, performing a series of flexibility exercises at the end of the session while your muscles are still warm is better for increasing flexibility and preventing injuries.

Physical therapists recommend several types of stretches for the maximum benefits to range of motion, such as:

  • Static stretching, which involves holding the stretch for as long as possible
  • Dynamic stretching, in which you move the joint within its normal range of motion, such as arm circles and side stretches
  • Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, or stretches where you contract and relax muscles against a prop or partner

Regularly performing different types of stretches will improve flexibility and help you gain more balance and mobility to prevent injuries.

2. Foam Rolling

Myofascial release is a therapy that helps release tension in the fascia, the connective tissues that run over and through muscles. Using a foam roller is one way to accomplish this. Moving back and forth over the roller puts pressure on soft tissues and uses your body weight to help soften the fascia and release the tension that limits flexibility and range of motion.

3. Hydration

If you needed one more reason to drink plenty of water throughout the day, now you have it. Staying hydrated can help increase your range of motion by keeping your soft tissues pliable. Water can also help lubricate your joints and support collagen production, which can reduce stiffness and soreness after a workout.

For further evidence that your muscles need plenty of water, consider that dehydration is a major factor in muscle cramps. Without adequate water, muscle fibers can shorten and contract. Drinking water alleviates this pain, so it only makes sense that staying hydrated is important to preventing tension and keeping your muscles flexible.

4. Massage

One of the best tips to keep in mind when learning how to increase range of motion might also be one of the most enjoyable for many people. Regular professional massages can help muscles relax and maintain flexibility by increasing blood flow and decreasing tension in the fascia. Massage can also help decrease the inflammation in muscles that causes tension and reduces flexibility.

Massage is just one form of soft tissue manipulation that can reduce the restrictions within your muscles and ligaments that reduce your range of motion and restrict circulation. Myofascial release, trigger point therapy, and joint mobilizations also help loosen tight tissues.

Get Help Increasing Your Range of Motion From a Physical Therapist in Austin, TX

If a limited range of motion in your shoulders, back, hips, or any other joints keeps you from doing things you enjoy or causes pain, the physical therapists of Spero Rehab in Austin, Texas, can help.

Our compassionate and experienced team will teach you how to increase range of motion through multiple treatments, including strengthening exercises, soft tissue release, joint mobilization, heat and cold therapy, and functional electrical stimulation. We’ll help you address the underlying issues contributing to a lack of flexibility so you can move easily and without pain.

Request an appointment at Spero Rehab using the online form, and let us design a personalized holistic treatment plan for your health and well-being.