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How Well Do You Move?

Think about our days from start to finish. What are most of us doing the majority of the time?  Probably sitting (car, bus, school, work, eating, reading this). Our body adapts to this lifestyle and it's reflected in people with poor postures, mobility, and even motor control. Past injuries may alter our mobility and movement as well. When we carry these ingrained problems into other positions and activities this may cause compensations leading to pain. 

Trainer helping mobilize a client

This is why we think the quality of movement is important to injury prevention and recovery-- especially if you want to lead an active lifestyle. While we know that strengthening exercises can often help with pain, mobility and motor control can sometimes be overlooked in treatment and where we believe are opportunities to address the root cause of some issues. There are different ways movement is looked at in the fitness and health community, but the neurodevelopmental perspective has gained a lot of traction and is what we like. Why? Because it provides us with a template for what good flexibility and motor control looks like by looking at ourselves as babies. As we spend the first year of our life trying to get to our feet we all go through several important milestones that form the basis of our mobility and motor control patterns. You can see a few good examples of this at Many adolescents and adults struggle attempting to reproduce the mobility and control observed in infants and revisiting these areas during treatment can often be the key to helping people gain control of their pain. Do you move well?

Test Your Movement

You can assess some of your own movement with these two simple movement patterns below. These are no where near a detailed breakdown of all your movement, but will give you a sense of your mobility and motor control. For most individuals, most of life occurs in this plane of movement, and dysfunctional movement is quickly evident. You can do these in front of a mirror or ask someone to observe you. Do these with shoes off and with snug clothing so movement is easier to observe.  If you are currently in pain you should not do these and seek professional help as pain alters movement. If these movement patterns reveal discomfort or you struggle, we're a Kirkland chiropractic and massage clinic that can help.

Person bending forward to touch her toes

Toe Touch

To accomplish this movement pattern will require you to have good mobility of the hamstrings and calves. It also requires good motor control of the low back, abdominals, and hip flexors.


Stand with your feet together. Without bending your knees, reach down and try to touch your toes. Go only as far as your body will let you without excessive force.

Ideal Mobility

  • A gradual C curve through the spine 

  • Butt shifts back (demonstrates good weight counterbalancing and hip control/mobility)

  • Able to touch the toes

  • No pain

Common Problems

  • Excessive bending through the upper back with straightness in the low back

  • Inability to touch toes

  • Knees bend

  • Complaints of tension or pain in the hamstrings or lower back

Our model here demonstrates a good pattern.​

Person leaning backwards with arm overhead.

Full-Body Lean
To successfully accomplish this movement pattern will require you to have good shoulder mobility, good thoracic spine/thorax mobility, and good hip flexor mobility. It will also require good motor control of the back extensors, shoulder flexors, and glutes.

Stand with your feet together. Push your arms straight up into the air keeping them parallel with your body as much as possible. Keeping your knees straight, lean back as far as you can. Go only as far as your body will let you. Don’t force it.

Ideal Mobility

  • A gradual C curve through the entire spine

  • ASIS (Bony landmark in front of pelvis) passes toes

  • Spine of shoulder blades passes your heels

  • Arms are able to follow and cover the ears as you lean back

Common Problems

  • Excessive bending through the lower back with complaints of pain

  • Lack of or not enough bending in the upper back

  • Shoulders don't keep up with ears

  • Not enough hip extension   

Our model here demonstrates good hip extension, but struggles to get her arms and shoulder blades past her heels possibly due to poor upper back or shoulder mobility.

If you're looking for a local chiropractor in Kirkland, or have questions about how our team can help you, please give us a call today. 

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