What is Stretching?
Stretching is a mechanical process where a physical tensile force is applied to soft tissue. By stretching the tissue, it allows for spinal cord reflexes we are not consciously aware of to come into play. Stretching a muscle can activate an inhibitory reflex to help it relax and prevent any spasms. Stretching can additionally help elongate muscles to be able to function at an appropriate length. The principle of repeated elongation of muscle tissue (known as stress relaxation) is used during prolonged stretching procedures where the stretched position of tissue can be maintained for several hours or days. When a muscle is at an “optimal length,” it can become stronger and pain-free.
Benefits of Stretching
By stretching soft tissue, we can increase a patient’s flexibility which can enhance athletic performance, decrease the risk of injury, improve range of motion, and improve blood flow to the area, which can help reduce pain.
Stretching can also assist in improving poor posture. Tight chest and neck muscles cause the shoulders to be drawn in, which promotes rounded shoulders, weak back muscles, and poor posture. By stretching the tissue, we allow muscles to lengthen and get out of the poor posture, which can potentially diminish any back and neck pain.
Stretching to Treat
At Farmingdale Physical Therapy West, our physical therapists are extensively trained on how to determine which muscles might be restricted and how to properly stretch them. These movements are specifically aimed at placing a target tissue in a position of tension to promote greater motion through a joint. Stretches can be performed statically, holding for 15-30 seconds or longer of dynamically quick movements aimed at using the contraction of an opposing muscle to promote relaxation in the target tissue. Our therapists often manually stretch a patient or educate them on self-stretching techniques.
If you are experiencing uncomfortable or painful muscle tightness from overuse during activity or a sedentary lifestyle, stretching may be the right option for you. Our experienced staff can help relieve this pain, positioning you for a more comfortable and pain-free lifestyle. Contact our office at (5160731-3583 to set up a free consultation with one of our many amazing therapists today!