About 700 skeletal muscle groups and connective tissue in our bodies work together as one unit to perform everyday activities. When these muscles become tight and inflexible, they can lead to back problems, knee pain, whiplash, headaches, neck pains, and other issues.
A regular stretching routine can help prevent these injuries and promote overall wellness. It’s also a great way to relieve stress, reduce pain, increase blood flow, and strengthen your whole body.
In fact, assisted stretching (known as stretch therapy) is a subset of physical therapy and is quite effective. Whether you’re recovering from a sports injury, trying to regain functional movement after a surgery, working out to lose weight, or just trying to get through the day without feeling stiff, stretch therapy is a great way to improve the health and performance of your muscles.
What Is Stretch Therapy?
Stretch therapy is the scientific application of stretching exercises for specific body areas. These exercises help loosen tight muscle tissue, contributing to reduced joint pain and inflammation.
A stretch therapy session involves using hands-on techniques to gently manipulate your muscles into different positions until they feel loose and relaxed. Stretch therapy encompasses various methods, including massage, yoga, pilates, foam rolling, and even deep-tissue manipulation.
No matter your age or fitness level, working with a stretch therapist has many benefits. Here are five reasons why you should consider incorporating stretch therapy techniques into your routine:
Studies show that adults who consistently stretch tend to have a greater range of movement in their joints, allowing them to move their bodies in impressive ways.
Regular stretching helps prevent atrophy, a process where muscles waste away due to lack of use. As a result, your muscles don’t grow and remain at a smaller size compared to your stretched muscles. Lack of growth causes muscles to tighten around the joints and form scar tissue leading to chronic pain and dysfunction.
Increases Your Range of Motion
Stretching and intentional movement patterns increase your range of motion. For example, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching is found to be more effective than static stretches in improving range of motion, muscle strength, motor control, and postural stability.
Stiffness refers to the inability of muscles to relax fully after being stretched. The more frequently you stretch, the less likely you’ll become stiff.
Static stretching is often recommended before exercise or activity as it reduces passive stiffness and operational flexibility. Dynamic stretching may be better suited to ensure maximum performance if your movement involves running or jumping.
Stretching exercises help improve circulation by increasing the volume of blood vessels on the body’s surface. Fascial stretch therapy is one technique used to increase circulation and promote healthy muscle function. It involves deep pressure massage of the fascial layers and encourages fluid to circulate between these layers.
Improves Your Posture
One study showed that stretching exercises in a standing position corrected posture problems, decreased pain levels, and improved quality of life.
Stretching can help maintain good posture when standing, sitting, or lying down. When done regularly, stretching techniques help maintain the correct positioning of the head, neck, shoulders, ribs, hips, knees, and ankles.
Stretch Your Way to Better Health
It’s hard to feel good when your muscles ache. If you have lingering tightness, stiff joints, or muscular spasms, stretch therapy sessions can help.
At Oak Brook Medical Group, our integrated pain relief clinic offers comprehensive care to treat all pain conditions. Our medical doctors, stretch therapists, and massage therapists work closely together to develop a personalized recovery plan that fits your schedule while helping you reach your rehabilitation goals.
When your body needs support, look no further than Oak Brook Medical Group. Call (630) 317-7478 or contact us online to learn how we can help you move toward improved health.