Most people stretch and hardly pay any attention to it. Throughout the day a person may stretch upon waking or after they’ve been sitting in the same position for a while. They might do some stretches before working out or as part of physical therapy. Stretching often makes us feel better but it might be surprising to discover that it is actually beneficial to optimal body function.
As a person ages their muscles begin to tighten. This is a natural part of the aging process. However, it can cause inhibit range of motion and joint stiffness, making normal day to day activities more difficult. After certain injuries stiffness can set in, causing pain and decreased flexibility.
What many chiropractic patients may be surprised to learn is that stretching is a great complement to chiropractic care. When combined with simple stretches and low impact exercises, chiropractic patients often find that their injuries heal faster, their pain is reduced, and they simply feel better and more energetic. If that isn’t enough to convince you to incorporate stretching into your daily wellness routine, maybe these four compelling benefits will.
Helps keep the spine aligned
When you stretch the muscles in your chest, shoulders, and lower back it will improve your posture by helping to keep your spine in better alignment. When your muscles are not stretched properly they begin to draw up – and it usually isn’t in a uniform or symmetrical manner.
This means that muscles on one side of your spine may draw up more than the muscles on the other side. This can result in your body being pulled to that side, causing your spine to be pulled that way. Stretching prevents this from happening and when combined with consistent chiropractic care it can ensure good spinal health.
Improves flexibility and range of motion
Most people know, on some level, that stretching improves flexibility and range of motion. However, many do not act on that knowledge and they often wind up at the doctor’s office complaining of back pain. Stretching will make you more flexible which, in turn, will make you less prone to injury.
Your muscles will be able to work as effectively as possible. It is important that you don’t overdo it though. Some people take terrible risks when they stretch, thinking that if they force their bodies into certain positions or if they “bounce” to get a deeper stretch then they will be more flexible. Actually, the reverse is true. Stretching in an unsafe way such as bouncing or forcing your body far beyond its limits will result in injury including pulled muscles and muscle tearing.
Helps relieve stress and detoxify the body
When you stretch, two very significant things happen. First, your blood flow increases as blood is rushed to the muscles, your organs, and your brain. Secondly, it moves oxygen through these areas. As a result, toxins that have accumulated in your soft tissues are dispelled.
The simple stretching that relieves tension in muscles, combined with the detoxifying effect will help you feel less stressed. Stretching is a great stress management exercise, one you can do just about anywhere. You don’t need any special equipment and you can even do it right at your desk while you are working. A bonus is that you’ll feel the de-stressing effects instantly.
Relieves lower back pain
If you suffer from lower back pain, you might find that stretching is a great pain reliever. Stretching can be a great alternative to opioids and other pain medications that can be addictive and have dangerous side effects.
It relies on the body’s natural ability to heal itself by releasing the tension and easing the stiffness of the muscles in that area. The stiffer those muscles are, the more they will hurt when you try to move. By relaxing them through stretching you will find that you move much easier and with less pain.
Stretching has so many great benefits. Talk to your chiropractor about a customized stretching plan that you can do at home. You’ll love what it does for you. If you don’t have a chiropractor, give us a call. We’re here to help!
Dr. Hoch (pronounced Hoke), is a 1988 Graduate of Peotone High School and a 1990 Graduate of Joliet Junior College. She Received both her B.S. in Human Biology (1991) and her Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) (1993) from The National College of Chiropractic in Lombard, IL. She also received her graduate and post-graduate certifications in Acupuncture from NCC. This article is copyrighted and may not be copied or duplicated in any manner including printed or electronic media, regardless of whether for a fee or gratis without the prior written permission of Dr. Hoch.