The definition of mobility is “the ability to move or be moved freely and easily.” Our joints have a range of movement considered to be normal and finding ranges of joint motion which are less than what is classed as normal highlights the need for mobility specific exercises. My lower back was always very stiff and rigid which I linked to the source of my ongoing pain. This is why mobility was one of my main focuses in rehabilitation for my back pain. Mobility exercises have helped me come a long way in managing my back pain however it assisted differently to what I once thought.
For me, feeling stiff and sore all the time meant that if I tried to do a squat I would end up feeling very restricted and awkward as I would be very careful to keep all my joints aligned properly to avoid re injuring my back. As a result, my back would become very stiff as a protective mechanism and therefore I often felt my back taking most of the load. I believed that if I had good mobility my back would not be stiff and I would have no pain. Increasing my mobility around my hips, upper and lower back over time allowed me to move more freely and with less awkwardness. I was therefore more compliant with my gym program and completed more functional movement with good form and good quality of movement- no this did not happen overnight.
Looking back at my previous beliefs I have come to realise what was actually happening based off what I now know and what current literature is saying. Increasing my mobility gave me the confidence to move more and to participate in more strength training as I perceived it was safe, not putting my back at risk of injury. Back pain really is so in tune with your own thoughts and beliefs. I now believe my back is strong and capable and as a result I don’t ever feel like it might just go like it used to and I can do all sorts of things. And i’ll share a secret, I still have days where I over do it and my back feels very stiff however this stiffness is not linked with pain like it used to be.
I would like to emphasis the most important part of exercising for ongoing pain is to find movement you enjoy and are feel confident in. Moving is the answer to ongoing pain so find your best move.
I love hearing from you so hit me up if you have any comments or questions.