The Best Movement for Joint Health

June 29, 2022
3 min read
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At Aleck Pain to Performance, we are huge proponents of daily movement in order to keep you pain-free and strong. Whether you're striving for your daily step goal or joining along with friends at your favorite exercise class. We understand how important it is for your health.

Why is daily movement crucial for your health?

Moving your body every day has incredible long-term benefits. By moving, you are improving stability, balance, coordination, and cognitive function. By maintaining healthy and pain-free joints you are able to stay with your current fitness routine allowing you to improve your heart, brain, and lung health. It's not just about getting your 10k steps in but moving every joint in your body!

If you follow us on social media there's a good chance you've seen us use and exercise called CARs (Controlled Articular Rotations). They have a wide range of uses. First thing in the morning, in between sets at the gym, or as a rehab exercise.

What are CARs?

Let’s break down that name

Controlled: Slow and deliberate

Articular: Joints

Rotations: Circles, ideally through end ranges of motion.

Which Joints?

  • Cervical Spine (neck)
  • Scapula
  • Shoulder
  • Thoracic Spine (mid back)
  • Elbow
  • Wrist
  • Hip
  • Knee
  • Ankle
  • Toes
  • Lumbar Spine (low back)

Benefits of CARs

Most of us spend our days in only a few positions, mostly sitting, just standing up to walk somewhere else to sit down again, then laying down in bed all night. The best way to reverse that lack of movement is to get every joint moving!

  • Maintain joint range of motion
  • Decrease joint pain
  • Accelerate healing after an injury
  • Improve mobility

What to check for during CARs?

Do you feel any pain or pinching?

Do you feel anything unpleasant, but not necessarily painful?

For example, stiffness, tightness, mild discomfort, cramping, “weirdness,” weakness, crunching, cracking, popping, grinding, or jerky/shaky movements?

Do other body parts that are not the target joint move, too? For example, when you reach your arm overhead and backward to do the shoulder CAR, does your elbow bend, your torso twist, your hips turn, your head lean, or anything else that’s not just clean movement at your shoulder joint?

If you said yes to any of the questions above then we highly recommend getting assessed! 

Book an appointment here

Best practices

The Morning Routine

One of the best ways to add this into your day is by incorporating a 5-minute routine done every morning. This will ensure you move every joint in your body to its fullest potential. 

During Training

Another easy way to incorporate CARs is at the gym. Instead of grabbing your phone between sets, do CARs!

For example:

Perform 1-2 Shoulder CARs between pressing movements.

Perform 1-2 Hip CARs between squatting and lunging movements.

Sport Specific / Warm Up

With Dr. Aleck or Dr. Richmond's help, we can make your CARs extremely specific to your needs. Whether you are a baseball player rehabbing your shoulder or a runner warming up for a long run - these are significant ways to improve athletic performance by incorporating sport-specific CARs into your routine.

Final Thoughts

We know that moving our bodies every day is the best preventative care that we can partake in. Why not get in daily movement while also prioritizing the long-term health of your joints? The truth is you can sneak 3-5 reps of each joint CAR throughout the day. For example, doing a neck CAR in the elevator or ankle CARs under your desk.

Remember: if you don't use it, you lose it!

Tagged: CARs · Joint · Movement · Pain free