In the spotlight- Mobility Bands

Having been on a hiatus for a while it only seems natural that my next blog post be on a subject that has helped me a lot not just during my practice but also has great clinical applications for manual therapists, patients, personal trainers etc. The edge mobility bands/ voodoo floss bands are great elastic compression bands to use as an adjunct to IASTM/ kinesiology taping etc to decrease pain, improve ROM and improve overall function and quality of movement. Good enough reasons to use them? I would think so.
To begin with, they are about 7′ in length and 2′ wide made of rubber. The voodoo floss bands and the edge mobility bands serve the same purpose just different manufactures. However, the distinguishing factor for me is the application technique. The voodoo floss bands, made famous by the rock star physical therapist ‘K-star’ is now a gym essential for crossfitters worldwide( FYI it’s ‘box’ and not ‘gym’ in crossfit lingo). The biggest advantage of this in my opinion is that people can now tackle ‘some’ of their own mobility issues without waiting to see a PT. I’m all for that, more power to the patients. However,  very tight compression can cause some discomfort and pain ( which sometimes is seen as a batch of honor by some in crossfit). Moreover, wrapping it too tight can hinder blood circulation to a body part limiting its duration of application.  The edge mobility band application by Dr. E resonates well with my principles. Very light compression of about 20-30 % stretch on the band ensures  minimum to no pain/discomfort. As mentioned in my previous blog posts, I prefer intervention that cause minimum pain and discomfort (I really follow the mantra ‘less is more’). Gone are my days of digging my elbows into sore tissues and trying to ‘release’ tight muscles. We now know that it is impossible to really release tissue in the body with our hands. If you stand behind the idea that one can cause true facial deformation or release with one’s hands, here’s  some food for thought.
So how does it really work? Well, we honestly don’t know as there isn’t enough research evidence. But I will refrain from trying to convince the ‘EVIDENCE BASED POLICE’. To explain in the simplest possible way,  through the work of Butler and Lorimer Mosely we know that pain, muscle tightness etc are controlled by the central nervous system which locks the body down when it detects threat following an injury/trauma etc. This is the body’s own defense mechanism trying to protect the body from further harm. This threat perception could persist long after the injury has healed and cause the brain to put the body part on a ‘lock down’ manifesting itself as tightness/pain/dysfunction. With the band we try to modulate the pain perception to the brain at a neuro-physiological level. With the help of the intervention, as the brain detects no threat, it slowly ‘lets go’. At this point we see some of the almost magical effects of the mobility bands. Very similar to the modern concept of manual therapy and kinesiology tape (Rocktape is my brand!!). It is believed that the mobility band/floss band also helps with better skin gliding by stimulating mechanorecptors which helps with range of motion.
Here are three quick video of my hip internal rotation pre and post using the floss band. And yes, I am pretty restricted in my hip IR.
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The few negatives of using the band are sometimes it could pull on patient’s skin or hair if used too aggressively (you know how I feel about that) and cause some discomfort. Also, rolling it back up after using it on a patients seems like a humongous task for lazy therapists like myself. It should also not be considered a panacea for all conditions. My favorite part about using the band is you could play around with it; with your patient laying down doing single joint passive movements, to performing functional exercises or during mobilizations etc.
In my limited imagination, the analogy that comes to my mind is that of an artist drawing on a canvas. You are the artist, if you will, your patient is the canvas and armed with your band that doesn’t come remotely close to resembling a brush, the possibilities are limitless.
Feedback is always appreciated.
Pursue excellence
Abhijit Minhas
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