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#065: The Body’s Alternating Pattern of Mobility and Stability

Every joint in your body alternates for the need for stability or mobility. This is a guide to understanding which corrective exercises to target whole body optimal biomechanics. If one region is not optimal, the above and below region will compensate and potentially lead to injury.

Keys To Focus On (Sampling) 

  • Ankle Mobility (Example: Calf Stretches for dorsiflexion)
  • Hip Mobility (Example: Hip flexor stretches for hip extension)
  • Core Stability
  • Mid-Back (Thoracic) Mobility (Example: Can Openers)
  • Scapular Stability









Disclaimer: This is a podcast transcript and grammar will not be ideal, but the info is valuable!

Intro: We all have to earn a living, but sometimes we don’t think of the effect sitting for an extended period of time has on our physical wellbeing. Welcome to the modern desk jockey, providing you with healthy solutions for the desk worker, our conversations with industry professionals and topic-based podcasts are guaranteed to keep you active for a healthy, more effective work week. Now here’s your host Dr. Kevin Christie.

Dr. Kevin: Hey desk jockeys, this is Dr. Kevin Christie with another episode of the modern desk jockey, where we try to bring good valuable information for the desk worker on health and wellness each week, and obviously we’ve started doing many months ago a Monday morning release, so I hope that you enjoy your car ride to work at the office on Monday mornings listening to us, always try to give you some good feedback and information for the week. One of the things I wanted to request before we dive in today’s episode was that I know that iTunes on the app on your phone, on your iPhone has made it really easy to leave us a review, you can do it right from the app which is a new feature that they’ve implemented, I’m not sure about the stitcher that, so thank you in advance.

that joint or stability in that joint, so keep in mind we’re talking about the joints of the body, not the muscles right now, I will kind of dive into some of that as we move up, the body from the foot all the way to the neck and all the way out to the wrist. So essentially, starting from the foot, you really need to have good stability in your foot, you’ve heard of people with flat feet or what we call hyper pronated foot, that’s a flat foot, that’s lacking stability in that arch right, that’s like building a house on quicksand, if you don’t have that proper stability in there, you do want to have a little bit of pronation, like pronation is a normal movement of the foot, it dampens the forces, the ground reaction forces and it really helps with the overall biomechanics, you just don’t want that hyper pronated or that flat foot, that’s definitely a problem.

Now there are some people with really high arches which is too much stability, what we actually call rigid, so it’s gone on to the other end of the spectrum, and it’s a problem as well, so I’m not going to kind of dive into what a rigid foot does I will have an episode on the foot and ankle in the near future where we’ll dive into that, but just understand the foot needs proper stability and the rest of your body is like putting that house on a solid foundation and if you don’t have that you’re going to have a problem. So at the foot we need stability, at the ankle joint we need mobility, we need proper mobility in that joint, now we don’t want hypermobility or too much mobility which is like a sprained ankle, where you damage the ligaments, and you have too much motion in that ankle that’s a problem as well, so you don’t want too much of a good thing, and you really want to make sure you have good ankle dorsal flexion, plantar flexion, inversion, eversion there are different types of motion you don’t need to know, but a lot of times people have really tight calves, or a fixated ankle joint and that really causes a lot of biomechanical issues of the whole foot ankle and leads to a lot of different conditions all the way from plantar fasciitis to Achilles issues, calf all way up the chain, hip problems, back problems, so it’s a big problem, so that’s why a lot of times we’ll talk about calf stretching and different ankle mobilization things to do to get that proper mobility.

So remember we started at the foot, we needed stability at the ankle, we needed mobility, moving up to the knee, as you can guess we need stability, again we want to have proper flexion extension of the knee, we don’t want gross range of motion issues where it’s just a big deficiency there, but we really want to have stability within the knee joint and that’s very important for our knee and for the rest of our body, moving up we want proper hip joint mobility, so this is the first one we’re going to actually do a little Segway and discuss that, yes you’ll hear a lot of people talk about needing hip stability which is important, that’s really discussing the muscles of the hips, so like the glut max, the glute medius and the T.F. L in all that around it, you really want to be able to stabilize that hip during one leg stance which is walking and running and sport and all kinds of activities yes, you want proper hip stability from the muscles, but from the actual joint, like the hip socket the joint you want to have mobility, you want good extension, flexion, internal rotation, external rotation one of the first things we check when someone has hip issue or low back is the range of motion and one of the first things you’ll see when someone’s got a pretty bad arthritic hip is a lack of internal rotation and flexion extension of the hip because the joint space is not there anymore, it’s not ideal so it doesn’t have the range of motion that it has, and really winds up happening if you’re lacking that hip range of motion, you’re going to end up getting that motion from probably the lumbar spine, which is above it, which is the next one, we want to have proper stability of the lumbar spine i.e. core stability, we’ve all heard of that, so obviously we want to have good core stability and what ends up happening is, you can do core stability exercises until you’re blue in the face, but if you’re lacking hip range of motion and thoracic spine mobility which is the one above the lumbar spine, you’re going to end up chewing up that low back and causing a lot of low back conditions.

So a lot of times one of the first things we address is some mobility for the hip and T-spine, so when we evaluate someone that is having low back pain, I want to see how their hips are moving, how their thoracic spine above is moving and if I find restrictions in there, I target that with some treatment and obviously corrective exercises and we have plenty of corrective exercises that you have access to, whether it’s in a learning center or some of the other podcasts we’ve talked about, you can access that, and I will put some exercise in the show notes on this one, but to kind of go back to where we were, again hip mobility needs to be ideal, lumbar stability above the lumbar spine moving up is the thoracic spine, we want good mobility there, if that’s out of whack we’re going to have problems, then going up to the neck, we want good cervical spine stability at the cervical spine aspect and then we want good mobility at the upper cervical spine like the occiput area which is the base of the skull that meets your cervical spine, so take that in consideration.

Now I’m going to come back down to the thoracic spine because we went up to the neck now we’re going to go out to the arm, and so from the thoracic spine we want good mobility, then we want what’s the scapular or the shoulder blade, we need proper stability there and then from there that will allow us to have proper shoulder joint, glenohumeralthoracic mobility, and so if you lack mobility in that thoracic spine, it’s not going to allow you to have proper core stability like I already mentioned, and it’s also going to prevent you from having scapular stability, so then it’s going to cause shoulder issues as well, so it really, we want to find that weak link, everybody may have a different weak link, it could be the hip, it could be the thoracic spine, it could be the foot and ankle, it can be many different things and so finding out what the problem is, is instrumental in that.

So what I’m going to do is in the show notes, I’m going to put my favorite hip mobility exercise for you to do, I’m going to do two of those because I’m going to try to get some internal, external rotation and then some extension specifically for that, there’s many more you can do but I’m going to give you two and I’m going to give you two of my favorite for the thoracic spine mobility and I really just want you for the week to engrain these four mobility drills into your routine and then program for you to start doing, very easy to do, you can do it by the desk, you can do it at home, at the gym, wherever so that’s going to be my challenge for you for the week is to do the mobility drills that I put in the show notes for you, and try to make that part of your routine. So that is how the body works from the joint perspective, again the alternating mobility instability needs of the joints and how it can go awry, and then what it can cost, so I challenge you to do those mobility drills, and I will see you next week.

Outro: Now that you have a better idea of how to improve your physical health while at work, let’s take it a few steps further by subscribing to our show and visiting our website you can find immediate tips, preventative measures and the resources we mentioned earlier to continue to improve your well-being while at work, tune in next time for more healthy solutions for the desk worker, here on the modern desk jockey.