OK, it’s morning; time to get up, start the coffee maker, and get ready for the day. But wait, it’s trash day! In addition, you forgot to put out the trash. You rush outside to look at your neighbor’s driveway to see if the truck has already come. Fortunately, you glance down the street just in time to see the truck approaching, so you scramble to put on your house shoes and rush to the garage. You’ve never been faster! You hit the garage door opener, grab the trash bags, and sprint down the driveway. You made it just in time!
Once inside, it hits you just how painful that event was. Your leg hurts, your back hurts, and your knees are saying, “What have you done to us?”
Ah, there was a mistake in your process. No stretching before the sprinting. If you had stretched, you might not have been so sore…or risked a painful injury. That makes sense, doesn’t it?
Does stretching prevent injuries? Can it help alleviate joint pain? From a Doctor of Chiropractic’s point of view, the answer is yes and no. For example, while stretching to prepare the body for activity is healthy, stretching can also be dangerous when done too aggressively. Why is that?
When we stretch, we are resetting and triggering neurological components within our muscular system. These are there to protect us but also give feedback to our brain on how our muscles are performing.
The chiropractic care paradigm represents a holistic, biopsychosocial philosophy of health rather than a biomedical one. It embraces a belief in optimizing health through good nutrition, constructive exercise, stress management, and a focus on the importance of good posture and correct spinal and extremity joint biomechanics.
Chiropractic patient management includes rehabilitation exercises, patient education in lifestyle and nutritional modification, the use of adjunctive physical therapy modalities, orthotics, and other supports, and manual chiropractic techniques.
As stated before, stretching is good. One bad habit you don’t want to fall into is overstretching. Overstretching is typically done when we hold a stretch for too long.
You can feel good about your stretching routine if you follow these five good stretching habits.
Dynamic stretching means choosing stretches to warm the body instead of to cool down the body. When you are getting ready to work out or do something strenuous, dynamic stretching can be a powerful tool to prepare your body for higher-level activities.
Choose things like a brisk walk or bike ride. You could even do jumping jacks or windmill exercises with your arms. Remember the types of callisthenic exercises you did in grade school? Those actually work.
Holding a stretch for 2 to 5 seconds can help loosen and prepare a muscle for activity. Holding a stretch for long periods can trigger the body to decrease its performance availability instead of ramping it up.
A stretch should feel like a stretch. It should not feel like you are on the verge of tearing something.
If you do feel pain or tightness even with stretching, consult a professional for medical advice.
A Doctor of Chiropractic near where you live, or work is a great place to start with any kind of musculoskeletal problem or pain. You can learn more about the role of chiropractors in multidisciplinary healthcare, conditions they can help provide answers to, and the evidence-based research behind chiropractic in this comprehensive report: Chiropractic: A Safe and Cost-effective Approach to Health.
With expert training and access to high-level diagnostics, a chiropractor will help you have better health over your lifetime.
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a private, nonprofit chiropractic and health sciences university in Overland Park, Kansas. Since our founding in 1922, our mission has been to educate and develop leaders in health promotion and embrace behaviors that empower people to control and improve their health.
The on-campus CUKC Chiropractic Health Center is open to the public and serves patients from Kansas City’s 15-county metro area. Our goal is to provide appropriate chiropractic care and solutions for a better, more productive life for our patients.