How to Keep Your Joints Healthy

Just like your car, the human body needs maintenance.

If you neglect your body, you will slowly lose the ability to fully control it. We’ve compiled a small list of exercises that can be done on a daily basis in order to maintain and improve the health of your joints. Every joint should be moved through its full range of motion every dayThe best way to keep your body healthy is to keep it moving in the proper way.

Note: not all of these exercises are good for everyone.

If you have pain with any of these, don’t force your way through it. Pain means that something needs to be corrected via hands on force. Unfortunately, you can’t just move an unhealthy joint until it becomes healthy. If you have pain with these you need to see a trained soft tissue provider. If you don’t live close to us, ask us if we know anyone in your area that can help you. These exercises are geared more towards improving and maintaining healthy joints.

Shoulder CARs – Keep your entire body flexed (also known as “irradiated“). That means squeeze your fists, squeeze your abs, squeeze your butt, dig your toes into the ground. It should feel like every muscle in your body is contracted except for the shoulder that is moving. Start with your thumb up, bring your arm up as high as possible towards the ceiling and circle the arm all the way around like a windmill trying to force the shoulder joint to “grind” as far as possible around the shoulder joint. The hand/wrist should be rotating along with the shoulder. See the video for demonstration. Perform 10-15 times both forwards and backwards on each arm.​

Shoulder CARs – Keep your entire body flexed (also known as “irradiated“). That means squeeze your fists, squeeze your abs, squeeze your butt, dig your toes into the ground. It should feel like every muscle in your body is contracted except for the shoulder that is moving. Start with your thumb up, bring your arm up as high as possible towards the ceiling and circle the arm all the way around like a windmill trying to force the shoulder joint to “grind” as far as possible around the shoulder joint. The hand/wrist should be rotating along with the shoulder. See the video for demonstration. Perform 10-15 times both forwards and backwards on each arm.​

Controlled Articular Rotations – Hip

 

Controlled Articular Rotations – Shoulder

    
Hip CARs (Controlled Articular Rotations) – Keep your entire body flexed (also known as “irradiated“). That means squeeze your fists, squeeze your abs, squeeze your butt, dig your toes into the ground. It should feel like every muscle in your body is contracted except for the hip that is moving. You want to get your knee up as high as possible, then out to the side as far as possible, then twist the heel up towards the ceiling and roll your foot and knee into extension behind your hip. See video for a demonstration. Perform 10-15 times both forwards and backwards on each leg. Shoulder CARs – Keep your entire body flexed (also known as “irradiated“). That means squeeze your fists, squeeze your abs, squeeze your butt, dig your toes into the ground. It should feel like every muscle in your body is contracted except for the shoulder that is moving. Start with your thumb up, bring your arm up as high as possible towards the ceiling and circle the arm all the way around like a windmill trying to force the shoulder joint to “grind” as far as possible around the shoulder joint. The hand/wrist should be rotating along with the shoulder. See the video for demonstration. Perform 10-15 times both forwards and backwards on each arm.

 

Controlled Articular Rotations – Neck

 

90/90 PAILs/RAILs

 
Cervical CARs – See this video for demonstration. Again, start with your body “irradiated.” Every muscle should be flexed. You can either squeeze a weight behind your back or just squeeze your hands behind your back. Slowly rotate the neck as far as possible into each direction. You should feel a stretching sensation as you work through each position. We want slow and controlled circles of the neck where you are trying to stretch the head as far as it will go. Make sure you do not hunch your shoulders upwards, this will take away any tension in the neck. 90/90 Hip Stretch – See this video for a demonstration. Start in position 1 and hold the stretch for 2 minutes straight. After 2 minutes, begin contracting/pressing your front knee into the ground for 30 seconds. At the end of 30 seconds, try to pick your knee up off the ground towards your chest and hold it for 30 seconds. Then, instead of letting your leg relax, lean your entire body lower to the ground and press your front knee into the ground again for 30 seconds. Repeat as many times as you would like but shoot for at least 3:30 – 4 minutes in each position. Start position 2 as shown in the video. Hold for 2 minutes. Then press the back foot into the floor for 30 seconds. Then lift off for 30 seconds. Repeat the last 2 steps. Again, this position should last about 4 minutes. You can practice transitioning from side to side to help improve coordination and control of your hips. Repeat from position 1 again on the opposite side. 

 

Frog Stretch

 

Prayer Stretch PAILs/RAILs

 
Frog Stretch – See this video for demonstration. Note, if you have furniture sliders they are awesome for this stretch. If not, use towels or pillows to help cushion your knees. Start by letting the knees slide apart from each other so your feel a stretch on the inner thigh. We are going to hold that position for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes of stretch, begin pushing both knees down into the ground. You should feel a contraction on the inner thigh. After 30 seconds, try to push your knees out wider/contract the glutes for 30 seconds. This is where furniture sliders can really come in handy. Repeat pushing your knees down for 30 seconds and pushing your knees out to the sides for 30 seconds. Hopefully, you should end closer to the floor than you started. Note: this can be intense when you first try it, don’t push yourself through pain. Try to make small improvements each time you do this. Prayer Stretch PAILs (Progressive Angular Isometric Loading) – See this video for demonstration. You can use an exercise ball or a chair to put your arms on. Use a pillow or pad underneath your knees. Let yourself sit back and keep your elbows straight to create an upper back stretch. Hold this position for 2 minutes (are you noticing the trend yet?). After 2 minutes, press both arms into the ball/chair for 30 seconds. After 30 seconds, try to lift one arm off the ball for 15 seconds. Then lift the second arm for 15 seconds. Try to sink a little deeper and push both arms into the ball again for 30 seconds. Lift each arm one more time and then let yourself up. This can be an intense stretch, if lifting the arms gives you shoulder pain, just try pushing down into the ball. Then let us know that you had trouble completely performing the stretch. 

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