“Range of motion” is a term that describes how well a joint moves. Some joints, such as the knee or elbow, only move in one way. You can extend (open) or flex (close) them. Other joints, such as the neck, shoulder or wrist, move in several different ways. You can extend or flex them, and you can rotate them in both directions. A healthy joint can move easily, without restriction, to its natural limit. But after a physical trauma, such as a motor vehicle collision or a fall, inflammation and scar tissue can cause obstructions in a joint’s natural range of motion. We have all experienced such an obstruction – whiplash can make it difficult and painful to rotate the neck from side to side, so we turn our entire body, or a shoulder injury can keep us from reaching above our head to get a dish from the cupboard. Not only can such obstructions be painful, but they are inconvenient and irritating. Receiving massage care after a physical trauma can help facilitate healing and restore your natural range of motion. Massage can help stretch your muscles and break up scar tissue in and around the joint. Massage also helps your muscles to relax, which allows for a faster healing time. Even if you haven’t experienced a physical trauma recently, regular massage care can help increase range of motion in stiff, under-used joints. Why strive to maintain a healthy, normal range of motion? Because if the day should come when you do experience a physical trauma – be it a motor vehicle collision, a fall, or just reaching too far to catch a baseball – the healthier your range of motion is, the less likely your chance of injury is, and the faster you’ll heal.