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Spinal Stiffness / Hypomobility

Spine Hypomobility is diagnosed when the ligaments are less pliable than necessary, or the fluid is decreased in the discs between the vertebrae which create decreased movement of the spine. Hypomobility is decreased movement of the spine compared to what is expected. Differences in how the segments are moving may occur at one joint, one segment, in just one direction of movement, or as a more generalized phenomenon throughout the body. More commonly, hypomobility occurs due to the aging process, secondary to pre-existing conditions (i.e. scoliosis), inactivity, or may be acquired congenitally.

Symptoms of Hypomobility

  • Feeling of stiffness surrounding segment(s) that is decreased in movement
  • Pain with moving in a direction where the segment is "stuck"
  • Weakness/numbness/tingling is due to degeneration of disc or nerve involvement
Hypomobility of the spine can be treated conservatively with skilled physical therapy. Physical therapy treatment consists of the following:
  • Soft tissue massage and myofascial release to decrease muscle tone
  • Manual therapy to mobilize segments and stretching of the affected muscles, hips, and thoracic spine .
  • Therapeutic exercise to coordinate muscle firing pattern, increase low extremity and trunk flexibility.
  • Exercises for lumbar hypomobility will focus on postural reeducation and trunk and lower extremity flexibility