Life after a joint injury can be tough. If you aren’t able to fully move your limbs, you may not be able to do everyday tasks or work. If you were previously quite active, stiffness and pain can leave you feeling sad and depressed. Chances are, your doctor recommended physical therapy to help you get moving again. There are also some exercises which you can do at home to improve your mobility. Read on for more details.
The exercises which are best for you will largely depend on which parts of the body were injured. The aim is usually to loosen up those joints and improve your range of motion. The neck, hip, ankle, knees, and shoulder are common areas of concern.
You may be having difficulty turning your neck. Try doing neck rolls to loosen things up a bit. This exercise has the added benefit of relieving tension in your head, shoulders, and upper back. Here’s what to do. Stand with your arms hanging beside your hips or sit with your hands in your lap.
Bring your chin down to your chest and roll your head towards your right shoulder. Face the front again and tilt your face towards the ceiling. Bring your head back down. Now, roll your head towards your left shoulder and return to center. This counts as one rotation. Take your time and complete three to five rotations.
Let’s get those stiff hips moving. You can stand or you can raise your one leg with the knee bent and thigh parallel to the floor. Slowly draw smooth circles with your knee. Make them larger as you go through the rotations. If you have problems with balance you can hold on to the wall or something sturdy. Do ten circles in each direction and then switch legs.
To improve mobility in your ankles, draw the alphabet. You can lie on your back with your leg pointing to the ceiling or sit in a chair and stretch one leg out. Let it remain just slightly off the ground. Use your foot to draw the letters from A to Z. Do one set for each foot. The letters don’t have to be perfect.
If you want to get your knees moving better while stretching your thigh muscles, this is what you should do. Lie on your back and extend both legs or bend your knees and plant your feet in front your buttocks. Bring one knee to your chest and hold the front of your shin to gently pull it in. Try to hold this position for twenty to thirty seconds before repeating it. Move on to the next leg.
You’ll need a broomstick or other long rod for this exercise which is called a shoulder pass-through. Hold the stick with a wide grip and your hands over it. Raise it over your head, keeping your arms straight. To keep your back from arching too much, keep your abdominal muscles tight. Raise the broomstick as high as you can get it. Hold it for a count or two, then release. Try to do this about five times.
Joint stiffness and pain are common but you can work to improve them. Even if you have a limited range of motion when you begin these exercises, with consistent work, it should become easier.