Photo by Kate Joie
For most people, the phrase “mobility handicap” describes the part of the aging population who is more comfortable going around with a mobility scooter. Some individuals also think of adults of all ages who have sustained a handicap.
But you’d be surprised to know that not all mobility handicaps significantly reduce your range of movements. Indeed, you may not realize that you could have a risk for mobility handicap without even knowing it. Here are some of the most commonly ignored issues that can affect adults at any age, regardless of their fitness level and strength.
#1. Spinal curves
Your spine is not flat and straight. It is designed to have three curves:
- A concave curve at the back of your neck
- An outward curve behind your thorax
- Another concave curve in your lower back
In other words, spinal curves are normal within reason. However, for individuals who develop adult scoliosis, curves can also develop from side to side, causing changes in the posture. For instance, if you have uneven shoulders or an asymmetric waist shape, these may result from scoliosis. It is unclear whether these unnatural curves develop due to bad posture or whether they are caused by weak muscles that fail to support the spine. However, without appropriate treatment, chronic pain and reduced mobility are the most frequent consequences as the condition progresses.
#2. Tight hip flexors
Most of us have a desk job that sees us sitting for long periods of time. As the current pandemic situation has forced many individuals to relocate their workplace at home, remote workers find it hard to make time for themselves. Maintaining a consistent routine that includes regular breaks is hard when you’re at home. More often than not, home-based professionals find themselves working longer hours than they would in the office. Indeed, when the commute is not a source of stress anymore, it’s easy to accumulate working hours. What’s another hour when you don’t have to worry about traffic on the way back? Unfortunately, this habit can affect your posture. The human body is not designed to sit for hours. A sedentary lifestyle can affect your hip flexor and tighten them. Extensive sitting will cause your hip flexor muscles to deactivate and become weaker. You are likely to experience tightness around the area that connects the upper leg to the hip. This can progressively affect your ability to bend at the waist or even raise your leg.
#3. Mobile screen neck
Do you sometimes wake up with a stiff neck? Improper support from your pillow is a direct cause of neck stiffness in the morning. Thankfully, the issue tyîcally resolves itself within a few days, once the muscles at the back of your neck have relaxed and recovered. You rely on your neck for most things in your day-to-day life. Driving requires frequent neck movements to check for traffic at intersections and stay safe on the road. When your neck incapacitates you, it can also affect your driving experience and make you a potentially dangerous driver. Even walking in town relies on neck movement to check for traffic before crossing. It may sound ridiculous, but when you can’t move your neck, you become exposed to risks on the road that you can’t see.
Unfortunately, neck stiffness could become a chronic issue as more and more people develop poor posture when using their mobile phones. A tilted head puts unnecessary strain on the neck muscles and can lead to progressive damage in the long term.
#4. Hypermobile joints
Some individuals are naturally hypermobile, which means their joints have a wider range of movements. While it can be a great thing if you’re planning on becoming a contortionist, it doesn’t come without dangers. Hypermobility is typically the result of both looser joints and weak muscles around the joint area. With adequate training and practice, hypermobility can become a strength. However, without it, you face high risks of frequent spraining and dislocation, which will gradually lead to joint pain, stiffness, and posture fatigue.
#5. Knee tightness
Last but not least, tight knees are becoming a recurring issue for individuals with an active lifestyle. Tightness in the knees is often linked to injury or damage in sports. For runners, the prolonged hard impact on the road can be sufficient to weaken knee joints and muscles. As a result, it can dramatically affect simple movements, such as walking or climbing stairs.
Are you familiar with any of these mobility handicaps? Most of us can wake up feeling a little tight after a rough night or an intense workout. However, when tightness or soreness becomes chronic and affects your posture and everyday movements, you may want to consider reaching out to a specialist to prevent the pain from progressing and becoming a permanent handicap.