Stretch or Not to Stretch?
Just because your back or calf feels tight doesn’t mean you should stretch it. I discuss this often with my patients. Maybe you simply need to get stronger. Feelings of “soreness” or “tightness” in any area is not a blanket recommendation to do one or the other.
I just began reading a book titled Stretch to Win by Ann and Chris Frederick. They are the experts in stretching and flexibility. They offered a simple example of when not to stretch. I always feel better when an expert in an area recommends another approach to treating a patient.
In chapter three of their book Stretch to Win they talk about a yoga practitioner who had over 30 years of experience. She sought help from them because of “discomfort in her low back”. The evaluation performed demonstrated excellent range of motion. From the stretch enthusiasts they recommended core strengthening. I can’t help to like them.
The final result was that she felt better with no stretching just core strengthening. From my own experience some patients are too flexible and stretching the same muscle over and over will simply worsen the same condition and/or create more problems then they started with. Maybe that muscle group should be strengthened.
A muscle imbalance assessment may provide clues as the origin of pain. This is a common problem when patients have had MRIs, xrays and blood work that have not shown significant changes in the area of the pain. Physical Therapists are trained in evaluating these problems and are one of the professionals that can make an assessment over whether a structure is too tight or weak.
Would you like to schedule a muscle imbalance assessment?
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