Stretching. How Far Do You Go?

Regular stretching exercises are good for your health; How far do you go?

Stretching is seen as the two ends of a muscle moving away from each other until their limit is reached or there is a joint block (where the joint cannot move any further).

Stretching is a general term used to describe any therapeutic manual manipulation used to lengthen pathologically shortened soft tissue; Weather it be muscle, tendon or fascia, and thereby increase range of motion.

Regular stretching exercises are very useful during a Myotherapy treatment & is generally seen to be one of the main reasons to see a Myotherapist. Before treatment, your Myotherapist will test your range of motion to see what is restricted & what area needs more work. It is also a great way to give & receive feed back for the client.

When they are restricted before having treatment & then seeing how much their range of movement has increased, even slightly, after treatment. Using massage, cupping or other forms of manual therapy to move muscle, tendon or fascia to increase blood flow & cause changes within the muscle fibres will be a form of stretching.

A torn muscle is when the belly or end of the muscle has been moved too fast into the end degree of range & has been stretched beyond the limit. This can be due to the temperature of the muscle, being too cold. The way it moved, too fast or beyond its limit. Or other restrictions around the joint, an injury, skin condition or other pathological condition, where it couldn’t move beyond that point. A stretch should not be moved past its normal range of motion.

Certain joints have greater range of motion than others, this depends on the structure of the joint itself, not the integrity of the muscles around it. Take the shoulder as an example, being a shallow joint the shoulder can move in almost 180 degrees, compared to the elbow that has limited range of motion.

Before starting a treatment I will ask my client to show me where they feel pain or discomfort & ask them to move the limb or joint & show me where exactly they feel the pain. Once we do some work together on or around the joint I will ask them to repeat the movement that caused the pain to start with & ask them to rate the level of pain associated with this movement. Increasing the blood flow helps with relaxation & usually helps increase the range of movement while decreasing the level of pain.

I will passively stretch the joint or limb to gage the level of discomfort again. This way the client can see & feel for themselves how the treatment has helped their condition.

Usually at the end of the Myotherapy session I will re-test my client to see how they move & what they feel after having treatment. It is at this time that I give them some stretching exercises to do at home, work or play! There are options to buy some equipment to help with stretching. I may also give them apps to use or pictures to show how to do the stretches once they leave the clinic.

So if you feel restricted in some movement, make an appointment to see me soon.