Why we say “Motion is Lotion”.
I had an interesting conversation with a friend about an injury they suffered to their knee. They said to me “I’m not doing anything with it right now because I want it to rest”.
The key word in there is REST.
Rarely do I recommend that word to patients (if ever at all). “Resting” a joint or an injured area can actually inhibit the healing process. And no athlete wants MORE time away from what they love to do.
Instead, I recommend to “MODIFY“. Just modify and adjust your activities performed right now to not cause more irritation and inflammation in the area.
The key is NON-PAINFUL activities and NON-PAINFUL movement. Our goal is non-painful movement at or around the injured area if possible. If not, exercise or movement at other parts of the body, that increases your heart rate, also increases blood flow to the WHOLE BODY which will still help your injury!
Moving and using an injured or painful joint will also help recruit something else very important…
Image copyright: Picture by: George S. Athwal, MDApril D. Armstrong, MD, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://creativecommons.org/license/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
What is Synovial Fluid and Why is it Important?
Synovial fluid is the lubrication inside your joints (think WD-40 or the tin man squirting oil into is joints in the “Wizard of Oz”). This fluid not only helps provide lubrication and less friction against opposing joint surfaces, but it also contains nutrients for articular joints. Moving joints in a non-irritating way will deliver and disperse synovial fluid inside the joints: more lubrication and more nutrients.
Do you know how more is produced?
So, more movement and MOTION for your joints helps recruit more blood (oxygen and nutrients) and fresh synovial fluid (nutrients and lotion) for that joint.
The more motion, the more LOTION for your joints.
Hence, MOTION is LOTION!
As mentioned previously, the key is NON-PAINFUL and non-irritating motion. Moving through pain and being overly aggressive can be counter-productive. This can result in more irritation and inflammation.
NO PAIN NO GAIN doesn’t apply with tissue or joint healing. Strength training and endurance training? Absolutely. However, when healing an injured joint, no pain no gain will inevitably make things worse and linger.
MOTION is LOTION.