Mobility Before Stability....

A common misconception in the world of treating acute pain is that you must strengthen the tissue in order to feel better. Well, that may not be the case! Before you start to strengthen any tissue, you should ensure that there is adequate mobility of the skeletal system. Essentially, you must have mobility before stability.

In a 2009 article for the
Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy, authors explored the effects of thoracic spine manipulation in the treatment of shoulder pain. By simply providing manipulation to the thoracic spine, over half of the participants noted significant improvement in their complaints with only manipulation!1

The logic is relatively simple. If there is a failure to address mobility limitations, there will be an increased load or strain placed on already strained tissue (tendon, ligaments, etc.). The lack of mobility creates tissue dysfunction and abnormal movement of the joint creating an injury. By addressing mobility first through manipulation or specific corrective exercises, you restore proper movement that then allow for a more effective treatment onto the injured tissue.

So if you have pain that is not resolving, it may be necessary to change the approach and look at the larger picture. You may need to look outside of the area of pain and explore the your overall mobility.

1. Strunce JB, Walker MJ, Boyles RE, Young BA. The immediate effects of thoracic spine and rib manipulation on subjects with primary complaints of shoulder pain.
J Man Manip Ther.2009;17:230-236.