How Do Chiropractors Measure Range of Motion?


Limited range of motion is usually caused by an injury in a specific joint or by a chronic condition such as osteoarthritis, and is often accompanied by stiffness, pain, and swelling. At some point, limited range of motion can interfere with a patient's ability to perform day-to-day activities. When this happens, range of motion testing becomes a very important. At New Leaf Chiropractic, we measure a patient's range of motion to set a baseline, design an appropriate treatment plan and monitor progress over time.

Range of motion-the movement of a joint from full flexion (flexed) to full extension, usually measured in degrees-is a very important concept in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems that affect joint function, and it can be measured in several different ways depending on the part of the body in question. Each joint has a different range of motion, and the parameters of a "normal" range of motion are arrived at by observation and general consensus within the chiropractic community.

We will also look for signs of discomfort, resistance and compensation as your joints are moved. Range of motion testing is painless for the most part-sometimes, post-operation and post-injury range of motion testing may be painful, but the pain lasts only as long as the testing does. The tests themselves are actually very simple movements, many of which resemble basic stretches or exercises.

Range of Motion may be measured passively or actively, depending on your needs. The passive range of motion exercises involve no effort at all-the movement is controlled. In active range of motion, you are responsible for moving the muscles around the affected join without any outside assistance.

Range of motion testing allows us to gauge your flexibility and make ongoing treatment decisions. Whether you're receiving spinal adjustments, extremity adjustments, and massage therapy we will work closely with you to relieve your pain and to improve your joint function.