Discover How Something As Simple as Stretching Can Have So Many Benefits
Did you know that some simple physical movements can dramatically improve your overall health, wellbeing, and overall quality of life? Well, in the case of stretching, you definitely can!
Stretching exercises are a staple of physical therapy for just that reason. You might be surprised to find out just how many ways stretching can help you.
In fact, according to Mayo Clinic, “stretching can increase flexibility and improve your joints’ range of motion, helping you move more freely, and ensuring that you have equal flexibility on both sides might help protect you from injury.”
Listed below are some of the main reasons why our physical therapists commonly prescribe stretches to make our patients’ lives better at Wellspring Health Center
How stretching can improve your health and wellness
Stretching provides a number of benefits to help your body stay healthier. Among the physical benefits, stress relief is another extremely important part of stretching. You face a lot of challenges every day, and the resulting stress can be held in your muscles, causing pain.
This can lead to tightness, spasms, and chronic discomfort. Stress also floods your body with certain “fight or flight” hormones, such as cortisone and adrenaline. These imbalances may suppress your immune function, making you more vulnerable to viruses and other diseases. For example, hypertension is a common condition that is developed as an effect of chronic stress.
Stretching frequently has been proven to help the body relieve pent-up stress. By relaxing and loosening your muscles, you can maintain better control of your blood pressure, avoid chronic muscle pain, and maintain a healthy immune system that is ready to take on anything.
How stretching can protect and strengthen your tissues
Tissues that are tight, stiff, or generally unprepared for any challenges have a higher risk of tearing, thus resulting in a strain or sprain that can leave you feeling uncomfortable and immobile.
Stretching provides a safe and gentle way to work out any tension in your tissues and get them ready for action.
As you become more limber, your risk of soft tissue injury becomes significantly reduced. After a time, you will find that these issues will become more capable and responsive as you work or play.
How stretching can help you move freely without pain
It is quite common for a physical therapist to prescribe various stretching exercises for individuals suffering from chronic pain conditions. Stretching is of particular importance when you become less mobile due to certain health issues, such as arthritis.
The less you move your joints, the more likely it is that your muscles and connective tissues will begin to lose some of their strength and become stiff. This change clearly limits your joint motion even further and can leave you in even more pain down the line.
Stretches naturally support many other physical therapy recommendations, such as walking, heat therapy, or massage therapy, in order to increase blood flow to painful joints and to widen your pain-free range of motion.
Chronic pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome often involve muscle tightness. This tightness can result in muscle knots that limit muscle movement and cause pain to other parts of the body. Fortunately, regular stretching can also help you release the painful knots.
Ready to add stretching into your daily routine?
It’s important to note that there’s a right way and a wrong way to stretch. For one thing, different types of stretches offer different benefits.
Your particular situation may involve active stretches (in which you move a body part without assistance), passive stretches (in which the body part is held or supported by a trained physical therapist), or both. When performed incorrectly, stretching can even result in further pain and/or damage to the affected area(s).
That’s why we recommend physical therapy to get started on adding stretching into your daily life. A physical therapist can help you stretch safely and efficiently, in order to prevent injuries and improve your overall function. Contact Wellspring Health Center today to get started!