Stretching

Ryan LaCorte Kenneth McClelland, Publications

Remaining Flexible to Reduce Aches and Pains

Feel like you are walking funny? Can’t bend down as easily as you could? Do you have aches, and pains, muscles feel tight? Having difficulty getting up from chairs, out of bed, or in and out of the car? If you have answered yes to any, or all of these questions you may benefit from physical therapy to assist you to incorporate stretching into your daily or weekly routine. When your muscles tighten and reduce in length you will often find your most simple of tasks challenging due to the decreased range of motion of your joints and body which stem from your muscular restrictions. At All Care Physical Therapy Center, highly trained physical therapists can identify, assess, and create a well-rounded home exercise program including the best stretches for your specific needs to help you regain that flexibility and help you perform you daily tasks.

People often feel a pain somewhere and think that is the only area to address or correct and the pain will go away for good. More often than not if the pain is not due to an injury or traumatic event, there is another place that is experiencing pain, causing the body to compensate and cause strain on other muscles and contribute to the pain you are experiencing. Simply addressing the area where the pain is felt can result in temporary relief but if you do not address the other muscular restrictions in the surrounding area, there is a good chance the pain will come back in time. Each person has over 600 muscles in their body and certain people can have upwards of 850. Incorporating a full body stretching program will allow for proper body mechanics and reduce the chances of straining a muscle. Trained physical therapists can assess your muscle restrictions, analyze your movement patterns, and then augment the proper stretching routine, creating a plan of care to address patient’s areas of pain and dysfunction.

Benefits of Stretching

Increase flexibility/range of motion- with stretching a muscle and increasing the length of the soft tissue it will allow for increased pain free range of motion which will result in you being able to reach, bend, walk, and move with greater ease.

Improved health- increased flexibility results in increased blood flow, decreased tension on nerves, and decreased pain levels as your muscle are not as restricting on your body which will promote overall improved health.

Reduced risk of injury- having less tension in your muscles and having increased flexibility will reduce the chances of tearing or straining your muscles, reduce your risk of falling, and decrease your chances of injury.

Keys to Stretching properly

Time- Research has shown that holding a stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds is required to have plasticity (permanent gains) in soft tissue length. Holding the stretch for 30 seconds (up to one to two minutes) is vital to gaining the increased length of the muscle necessary to reduce the muscular restrictions.

Tension- Many people believe a stretch is a contest to see how far you can stretch your muscle, this is not the case. You must have enough tension in order to lengthen the tissue and increase flexibility; however, the stretch should be comfortable and not cause pain.

Technique- Form is important to make sure you are targeting specific muscles designed for the stretch. Minor corrections in technique and form guided by a physical therapist, will make sure that significant gains are obtained.

At All Care Physical Therapy Center, we have well educated, highly trained professionals that have the ability to assess muscular restrictions and identify the course of action to reduce muscular restrictions, reeducate the body in proper movement, and reinforce with strengthening to allow for you to regain the ability to perform your daily tasks. The physical therapists will educate and oversee the proper technique of your stretching and set you up with a home exercise program designed for you and your specific needs and goals. Stretching and remaining flexible can benefit everyone from young to old, male or female, and athlete or non-athlete. If you are having trouble with moving around and completing all of the day-to-day activities that you would like to be doing, please stop into one of our physical therapy clinics and have one of our physical therapists analyze and create a program to promote your health and well-being.

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