Range of motion is an important part of physical therapy, from measuring the extent of an injury to understanding how physical therapy exercises can help you work toward improving range of motion after an injury. You may hear your physical therapist or doctor refer to it. Here is what you need to know about range of motion during physical therapy.
What is Range of Motion?
Range of motion is the term for the measurement of movement for a joint or body part. It is one of the primary assessments that physical therapists use to evaluate the condition of a joint, create a treatment plan, and to measure treatment success. Based on established criteria for range of motion (and other tests that measure strength, flexibility, and balance), your physical therapist will be able to see the severity of your condition.
How Physical Therapists Measure Range of Motion
Physical therapists measure range of motion using a goniometer. This device looks a bit like a school math protractor that has two arms that the physical therapist places on specific parts of your body. By moving your body in specific ways, the physical therapist can measure how much motion is possible.
Generally, using a goniometer to measure range of motion doesn’t cause clients any pain. It is possible that some clients may experience some immediate pain during the measurement process if they recently underwent surgery or injured that specific joint or limb. However, the pain will go away immediately after the measurement is taken.
3 Range of Motion Measurements
There are three different types of measurements that physical therapists utilize when it comes to range of motion. Active ROM is when you move your own body part. This is typically measured only when it is safe for you to move independently without assistance after you have fully recovered from surgery or injury.
Active-Assistive ROM, sometimes referred to by the acronym AAROM, is measured when you’re able to move your body part with assistance. This might be assistance from a person, assistive device or machine. Passive ROM is when someone else or a machine moves your body for you. This is often measured at the beginning of physical therapy treatment after an injury or surgery.
Suspension Therapy and Range of Motion
One tool that your physical therapist might utilize to improve your range of motion is suspension therapy, an innovative treatment option that is unique to Manhattan Physical Therapy and Pain Center. Suspension therapy can help to suspend and relax parts of your body to provide better treatment. It is an ideal way to perform traditionally weight bearing exercises in a non-weight bearing position. This can speed up healing.
Range of motion is an important measurement in physical therapy, but also in terms of how you function in your daily life. Having adequate range of motion in each joint can help with flexibility and balance. If you feel that your range of motion is restricted in some way, even if you didn’t suffer from a recent injury or undergo surgery, it can be worth discussing with your concerns with a physical therapist or doctor.
Ready to Get Started?
Manhattan Physical Therapy and Pain Center is a leader in pain relief and injury recovery, and we look forward to helping you with all your physical therapy goals. Call us at (212) 213-3480 or contact us today to set an appointment.