Joint Function

Freedom of Movement - A Joint Effort
One of the joys of life is being able to move fluidly without stiffness or hindered motion. Its something that is easy to take for granted until your mobility is diminished. Ease of movement is facilitated by proper functioning of the joints. When the function of any joint is hindered, your ability to carry on normally is greatly reduced. Understanding something about your jointshow they work and how they can be compromisedcan help to keep you moving easily through life. Your body has several different types of joints that define certain ranges of motion. The more obvious joints that concern us are those at the knee, elbow, shoulder, hip, wrist, and neck. We also depend on joints in our hands and feet; throughout the spinal column; where the spine adjoins the hip bones; the collar bones; the jaweven in the skull. When you decide to take a drink, nerve impulses instruct your muscles to contract, enabling you to grasp a glass and move it toward your mouth. The function of the joints in this example is to limit the range of motion of your fingers, wrist, elbow, and shoulder to successfully complete the required task. If any of your joints are stiff or in a locked positionor in some cases too looseit becomes more difficult or impossible to complete the sequence of motions. What can interfere with joint function? Lack of use can lead to a joint locking up. If the proper spacing between two joint surfaces is not maintained, function is altered. The ligamentsbands of strong, flexible, white tissue that connect and support the jointsmust be firm enough, pliable and properly supportive or the joint performance will suffer. A muscle contraction can pull the joint out of alignment. If a muscle gets a partial signal from a nerve, it may tense rather than completely contracting. This tension can prevent the joint from proper function. As you can see from the above examples, many factors can contribute to limited range of motion, joint pain, stiffness, etc. Fortunately, your regular massages can help your joints to perform at a more optimum level. For instance, each massage can help to increase the circulation to the joint area so each joint will receive the raw materials and nourishment it requires. This increased circulation can help to remove any cellular waste as well. Your joints are affected by the ligaments, muscles, and tendons that surround them. So when your muscle function is improved, it can positively affect the neighboring joints. The proper attention to a joint area can help to improve the range of motion, reduce painful conditions, and restore its performance. Proper exercise can help as well. Joint movement encourages lubrication of the joint. The ligaments, tendons and joint capsule are warmed from the movement, which helps to keep these tissues pliable. Its important to avoid undue stress to your joints. Besides inviting injury, trying to do too much, too soon when working with a stressed, weakened or injured joint can prevent recovery. Be sure to stay within each joints limitations when exercising, stretching, or in normal activity. Its better to go slowly than to risk injury. Your regular massages help to return proper balance to your bodys many systemsyour muscles, joints, tendons, etc. The conditions that tend to cause a muscle to remain too tense or a joint to be stiff and limited in its motions in many cases can be normalized. Each day brings new challenges to your bodys functionsmany that manifest as tensions, aches, pains, and limited ranges of motion. Making sure you get regular bodywork sessions can help your body to overcome many of these challenges and maintain a happier balance, as well as helping to head off some potential problems before they adversely affect you. So contribute to that freedom of movement by maintaining a regular massage schedule! Make your future a healthier one. © 2006 Massage Marketing. Used with permission. All rights reserved.