Physical Rehabilitation: Balance Between Stiffness and Mobility

Posted: May 18, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Stiffness in relation to the body is something that you can describe with the point of just below rigidity. Mobility in this sense means to be supple and free. I have learned from my own experience about the importance of finding the balance between these two imperative aspects in maintaining physical capacity and especially recovery. Once we are injured or suffer any trauma in anyway and we do not possess the “best” treatment and rehabilitation knowledge, most of us will go down a path leading to a chronic vicious cycle involving stress and agony.

So back to the balance between stiffness and mobility. There is enormous support out there in both the literature and society that relaxation is much more beneficial than being stiff. However, for somebody who has had chronic debilitation for a long time, they may not know how much relaxation is ideal. For example, they feel relief from a single leg stance with total relaxation with the arch still pretty strong. BUT the brain and the tissues may be saying: “Oh that is a lot better, lets keep it this way for now.” Then after experiencing this relief, you start to realize that even though this relaxed state feels better than the “complete stiffness” you had before it is “still” causing you discomfort but of a different kind. Then you start to wonder why does it feel like this if “I am relaxed…?” 

Well the answer is that you have forgotten how to find the balance between being stiff and mobile. The brain and body is extremely smart as it keeps causing you discomfort as an alarm system to tell you that something is still off. So it is up to you to find the balance from being in one extreme – completely stiff (during period of recovery) into the other extreme – being completely relaxed. As Functional Movement Systems Gray Cook says: Once you gain some mobility go add some strength. This is the key to maintaining the balance between stiffness and mobility. Also, in a relaxed state as opposed to the stiff state, you will most likely be in a position which will reinforce your strength gains; but just not as ideal as in the balanced state.

Mobility = Towards suppleness and free.
Stability = Towards Stiffness

~Open Our Minds


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