*Last year, there were over 860,000 hip and knee replacements performed in the United States.
Let that number sink in.
Unfortunately, that number is only going to rise at a staggering rate. With sedentary lifestyles at an all time high, an obesity epidemic, and lack of overall joint knowledge, orthopedic surgeons are going to be extremely busy in the coming years.
The good news? There's something you can do RIGHT NOW to avoid being part of this growing group. Today I’m going to enlighten the masses on how we can slow and maybe even one day prevent these procedures from happening. This blog is about everything Joint Health. I’ll explain why joints start to lose function, how space is the key, and what to do keep those joints healthy (you know it's going to be about CARs).
IF YOU DON'T USE IT, YOU LOSE IT
This statement sums up exactly why joints start to lose function. If you think about human movement, all of it stems from our joints. For example if you're taking your luggage down from the overhead compartment on a plane, what's controlling that movement? Your shoulder, wrist and elbow joints. If you're squatting, it's your spine, hip, knee, and ankle.
Ask yourself this question, “When was the last time I reached my arm back behind me?” Most likely its been a very long time. Now do it, or better yet try doing it when you’re driving and reaching for something in the back seat. I’m expecting it doesn’t feel very good, does it? If you don’t ever put your body in all the positions it’s capable of going, you’ll soon lose the ability to do so. It’s that simple folks.
Another example is the squat position. For most people, they haven’t sat in a nice deep squat since they were a little kid. It cracks me up when I watch little kids just drop down into a squat like it’s nothing because wow, now that I’m older, it takes a hell of a lot more effort. And that’s just what we think happens. Once you reach adulthood, kiss that squat goodbye. Forget about a squat…when’s the last time you even sat on the ground?
Just remember guys, we don’t stop moving because we grow old, we grow old because we stop moving. We have to keep moving our joints every single day, otherwise we lose the ability to use them.
You know you need to start moving those joints, so you start to raise your arm up overhead, and bam you feel either a nasty pinch in your shoulder or you hit a brick wall before you even get close to overhead. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. If you look at the way the shoulder and hip are designed, you have the end of one bone inside a capsule like a ball and socket. For the shoulder to reach the overhead position, the head of your humerus, (big bone that is underneath your biceps) has to be able to not only rotate in there, but it also needs to be able to move back, (like moving behind you). If there isn’t adequate space, the humeral head will simply stop moving and you can no longer reach the overhead position. Same thing applies for the femur head inside your hip socket. For both of these joints, plus all of the joints in the human body, we must have space in there for things to move around. No space equals no movement.
BRUSH YOUR TEETH (AND YOUR JOINTS!)
By now you’re probably wondering, “What can I do to keep my joints healthy?” Of course, you do your CARs! CARs stand for Controlled Articular Rotations and are exercises that come from the brilliant minds over at Functional Range Conditioning. They're simply the easiest way to care for your joints.
First, they take your joint through it's greatest pain-free range of motion. The “Use it or lose it” situation from above is taken care of. Secondly, by moving your joints on a regular basis you’ll start to create space in there. Constantly moving the end of the bones inside those capsules will slowly clear up more room for them to move around. Problem 2 from above, check!
You can start to think of CARs as brushing your teeth for your joints. A long time ago, you decided that brushing your teeth twice a day was a worthwhile habit to form. Well, doing your CARs will take care of your joints, so start making them a daily habit! In the videos below, I demonstrate how to do your shoulder and hip CARs which in my opinion, are the exercises that give you the most bang for your buck.
*Reference: American Joint Replacement Registry, 2017 Annual Report on Hip and Knee Arthroplasty Data http://www.ajrr.net/media-news/press-releases/500-ajrr-releases-2017-annual-report-on-hip-and-knee-arthroplasty-data
ABOUT COACH MATT PIPPIN
Matt is a Strength and Conditioning Coach and Level 3 Fascial Stretch Therapist with over 15 years experience in his field. After years of playing sports as a child, Matt gained an interest in health and wellness and decided to pursue a career in strength and conditioning. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in Exercise Science in 2005. During college Matt played rugby and interned as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with the football team.
Post graduation, he worked with professional athletes as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for NFL Europe's Berlin Thunder. For 8 years, Matt worked in Chicago, IL at the East Bank Club as a Master Personal Trainer, Performance Coach and Fascial Stretch Therapist helping athletes and weekend warriors achieve their personal goals. Inspired by the overall quality and active lifestyle that California is known for, Matt and his wife Jennifer moved to San Diego in the summer of 2014 and haven’t looked back!
NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
Level 3: Fascial Stretch Specialist
Level 1: Institute of Motion Health Coach
Certified FRC Mobility Specialist (FRCms)
Level 1 Kinstretch Instructor