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  • Writer's pictureBankstown Physiotherapy

Mobility Sticks improve flexibility, strength and motor control

Mobility sticks are becoming an increasingly popular treatment modality to improve flexibility, strength and motor control.

Sports Physiotherapist Steve Stahl, Director of Education, Stick Mobility, runs courses for physiotherapists interested in using mobility sticks.

"We believe that the definition of mobility is to have a combination of flexibility, strength and motor control.

"That is, to be truly mobile, you need to be able to have the strength to control your flexibility," said Mr Stahl.

In clinical practice, there are two ends of the spectrum: clients that are stiff as a result of years of repetitive loading through occupation, habits or sport; and people with good flexibility but little control of their range predisposing them to injury explained Mr Stahl.

"Neither end of the spectrum is the ideal place to be!

"The Stick Mobility course teaches a system of movement and exercise that aims to improve all three aspects of mobility.
"The flexible, but sturdy sticks can be used in many ways to improve range of motion, strength, and control through range."

The principles that underpin the Stick Mobility system

Leverage - Allows people to access greater ranges of movement than they would otherwise be able to achieve safely and effectively.

Stability - Provides and increases the base of support for specific movements, and this allows the user to move with more control through the range. Often the increase in perceived stability immediately enables the user to more range of movement.

Proprioception - Exercises can quickly and easily highlight to the user their differences in the range of movement, strength, and control between one side of their body and the other. This feedback within a functional movement can be more meaningful to the user than physio-centric assessment methods.

Irradiation - Generate tension in one area of the body to assist in the generation of force or control in other areas of the body. People often talk about 'proximal stability granting distal mobility', and this principle can be an example of that.

Isometric strength - Working isometrically is an ideal introduction to strength training in a rehabilitation setting after injury. This is a safe and self-limiting method of strength training. With the popularity of high intensity training these days, many people are surprised how difficult it is to hold positions isometrically or with slow movements through range using the stick. Speed hides need" is one of our mantras!

Physiotherapist Gabrielle Street said mobility sticks are a great tool to assist with improving a client's range of motion in a treatment.

"I love when clients come in feeling super tight and restricted, we can do some mobility work, including using the stick, and they boast about the reduced tension in their body.
"The mobility stick can assist people in getting into positions they may have found difficult or unstable without using the stick," said Ms. Street.

Stick Mobility training is a physical two-day course, which includes practical exercises and group discussions about the implementation of exercises and how they can be progressed or regressed according to patient needs.

"We have physios utilising the Stick Mobility exercises with all ages from kids to elderly clients, as well as those with neurological conditions such as Parkinson's Disease.
"Following the course, attendees will be able to incorporate the Stick Mobility principles and exercises working one-to-one with individual patients or run small group sessions within their clinic," said Mr. Stahl.

Article by: Haley Williams | Published: 02-10-2019

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