Stretching Objective: The body needs to be flexible to maintain a full range of motion. Stretching keeps the muscles supple, strong, and healthy; without it, the muscles shorten and become stiff and tight. Then, when the muscles are needed, they are weak and unable to extend fully. This increases the risk of joint pain, strains, injuries, and muscle damage. For example, sitting in a chair for a long time results in tight glute muscles and hamstrings, which leads to back discomfort symptoms and inhibits walking. Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Clinic can help individuals develop a personalized stretching program to maintain smooth mobility, flexibility, and function.
The body needs to be flexible to maintain mobility, balance, and independence. The benefits of regularly stretching include:
The areas critical for mobility include:
When the muscles are stretched, so are the muscle spindles. The spindle records the change in length and speed and transmits the signals through the spinal cord, which conveys the information. This triggers the stretch reflex, which tries to resist the change by causing the stretched muscle to contract. Muscle spindle function helps maintain muscle tone and protects the body from injury. One of the reasons for holding a stretch for a specific amount of time is because, as the muscle stays in a stretched position, the spindle acclimates to the new condition and reduces its resistance signaling, gradually training the stretch receptors to allow greater lengthening of the muscles.
However, stretching once won’t generate maximum flexibility. Tight muscles may have taken months or years to develop; therefore, it will take time to achieve flexibility and must be continually worked on to maintain it. Chiropractors and physical therapists are body movement experts and can assess individual muscle strength and develop a customized stretching program.
Bhattacharyya, Kalyan B. “The stretch reflex and the contributions of C David Marsden.” Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology vol. 20,1 (2017): 1-4. doi:10.4103/0972-2327.199906
Behm, David G et al. “Acute effects of muscle stretching on physical performance, range of motion, and injury incidence in healthy active individuals: a systematic review.” Applied physiology, nutrition, and metabolism = Physiologie applique, nutrition et metabolism vol. 41,1 (2016): 1-11. doi:10.1139/apnm-2015-0235
Berg, K. Stretching fundamentals. In: Prescriptive Stretching. 2nd ed. Kindle edition. Human Kinetics; 2020.
da Costa, Bruno R, and Edgar Ramos Vieira. “Stretching to reduce work-related musculoskeletal disorders: a systematic review.” Journal of rehabilitation medicine vol. 40,5 (2008): 321-8. doi:10.2340/16501977-0204
Page, Phil. “Current concepts in muscle stretching for exercise and rehabilitation.” International journal of sports physical therapy vol. 7,1 (2012): 109-19.
Witvrouw, Erik, et al. “Stretching and injury prevention: an obscure relationship.” Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.) vol. 34,7 (2004): 443-9. doi:10.2165/00007256-200434070-00003
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