Range of motion (or ROM) is a measure of the movement at each joint. It is also referred to as a joint’s capacity of moving from full flexion to full extension. The primary purpose of range of motion exercises is to maintain the strength, flexibility, and mobility of specific joints. Furthermore, they help reduce stiffness, swelling, pain, and help improve one’s range of motion. These exercises mainly involve stretching the muscles and moving the joints.
ROM exercises are of two types. When a person is able to do the exercises without any assistance, they may be referred to as active range of motion exercises (AROM). In this case, the person has the muscle strength for the movement of joints or to perform the exercise by himself/herself. Whereas, there are some exercises wherein a person needs assistance as he/she has less muscle strength, and these can be referred to as passive range of motion (PROM) exercises. In this case, the person need not put any effort as someone like a caregiver will help him do the joint exercises. The other type of range of motion exercises is active assistive (or AAROM). Here, the individual uses the muscles surrounding the joint, but also requires the help of a therapist or a device to do the same. Here, we give you the differences between AROM and PROM exercises.
◼ These exercises do not require assistance and can be performed by a person on his/her own.
◼ AROM exercises mainly focus on improving joint function, flexibility, or building of muscles. They also help reduce pain and improve strength.
◼ No other person or machine involved.
ROM exercises need to be stopped immediately if you experience any kind of pain. Moreover, it is always better to consult your physical therapist to confirm whether the exercise is being performed correctly or the pain is due to some other reason.