Poor joint health is usually the result of poor biomechanics. One of the biomechanical results of fight or flight nervous system activation is a decrease in joint space. When the tendon guard reflex is activated, for example, the tendon shortens at the elbow and pulls the elbow cap higher toward the shoulder. This decreases space at the elbow joint and impinges nerves and blood vessels that run through that open space.
Compression in joints leads to more bone-on-bone contact, causes deterioration at the joint, and compresses nerves and blood vessels that rely on an open space to pass through
At the shoulder joint, in fight or flight, the upper arm bone moves further in toward the midline of the body as the collarbone moves downward and closer to the rib cage. Some of the nerves that enervate the arm run out of the neck bones, under the collarbone, and down the arm. The lymphatic system and blood vessels also run through this space. As space at the shoulder joint decreases, this affects the ability of our nerves to send and receive signals up and down the arms, and circulation and lymphatic function are impacted as well.
The joint compression that occurs during fight or flight can also lead to more bone on bone contact. In short, this causes deterioration of the joints – both bone and soft tissue – as well as impeding the function of other systems that rely on the existence of joint space.
Motor repatterning helps the nervous system open these joints, improving health at the joints, creating biomechanically optimal movement, and improving circulation, nervous system, and lymphatic system function. If poor joint biomechanics is an underlying cause of pain, this can also lead to joint pain relief.