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Joint Stiffness/Muscles Tightness Exercises

What is Joint Stiffness/Muscles Tightness (Range of Motion) Exercises?

Joint Stiffness/muscles tightness (Ranges of motion) exercises are exercises that are given for a specific joint where there is a reduced range of movement. These exercises can be assisted by gravity, assisted by yourself (e.g. the movement is performed to the achievable range, and then over pressure is applied by another part of the body such as your hands to achieve a greater range), assisted by another person, done within water and assisted by an external machine.

The physiotherapists are qualified to assess, diagnose and prescribe range of motion exercises to those who have range of motion deficits.

What are the benefits of Joint stiffness / muscles tightness (Range of Motion) Exercises?

There are many benefits of seeing a physiotherapists if movement is reduced at a joint. Range of motion exercises can:

• Increase movement at a joint

• Increase the function of a joint and the whole limb

• Improve movement efficiency

• Increase independence

• Decrease pain

• Improve and maintain joint integrity.

These benefits can have a positive effect on your life if you are suffering from range of motion at a particular joint.

What does a Joint stiffness / Muscles Tightness (Range of Motion Exercise) programme include?

Range of motion exercises will be prescribed upon the outcome of a physiotherapy assessment. This assessment will look at the range and the quality of the movement. Quite often strengthening exercises are prescribed alongside or shortly after range of motion exercises as the increased movement at a joint without increasing the strength could cause a further injury. Range of motion exercise programme’s will include:

1) Passive range of motion exercises - where another person or another body part completes the full movement without muscle activation

2) self-assisted range of motion exercises – where the muscles complete the movement within the available range and then over pressure is applied to achieve a few extra degrees.

3) Gravity assisted range of motion exercises – where the movement is done by muscle activation in a position where gravity can assist pull the weight of the limb to the end of the joint’s available range.

4) Range of motion exercises within water – this can be advised by the physiotherapist as warm water can help to relax the tissues and increase the extensibility of the tissues increasing the achievable range.

These benefits can have a positive effect on your life if you are suffering from range of motion at a particular joint.

Who would benefit from joint stiffness / Muscles tightness Range of Motion Exercises?

Many people would benefit from range of motion exercises. You may suffer from reduced range of movement at a joint for many reasons. People with following conditions and injuries would benefit from a physiotherapy assessment and range of motion exercises:

• Arthritic joints

• Resolving ligament sprain- as the tissues will heal and become tight

• Resolving muscle strain – as the tissues will heal and become tight

• Foreign object within the joint

• Post joint surgery

• Acute injury where swelling is present

• Post joint replacement

• Pre-surgery e.g. prior to joint surgery as post surgery will decrease range of movement, therefore the more movement which is available prior to surgery will increase the movement that will be available post surgery.

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