Some people think that stretching is an unnecessary part of exercising. The truth is that stretching is a necessary component of exercise.
Can some simple physical motions dramatically improve your overall health, wellness, and quality of life? In the case of stretching, the answer is most definitely yes. Stretching exercises are a staple of physical therapy for just that reason.
In fact, according to physical therapists, stretching is an important part of one’s daily routine – whether you’re exercising or not.
Stretching involves stretching connective tissue, a muscle or a tendon. The goal of stretching is to improve range of motion, flexibility and muscle elasticity. The five most common stretching exercises are:
Ballistic stretch physical therapy is a rapid bouncing motion to stretch a muscle. Dynamic stretching by a physical therapist entails stretching with motion at different speeds and distances.
These movements are performed in a controlled and slow manner. Examples include torso swings, arms swings and leg swings. Static stretch physical therapy involved stretching the muscle and holding it for a few seconds.
PNF entails holding and controlling techniques to activate specific receptors in muscles. This technique improves muscle length and decreases muscle tension. The low load stretching technique is gradual application of tension to enhance connective tissue remodeling.
A physical therapist will determine the best stretching exercises for your affected area and implement them into your treatment plan. They will also give you home exercises.
These stretching exercises may include groin stretches, quadriceps stretches, knee stretches, calf stretches and more. They will also show you how to do easy stretches with a towel at home. Knee stretches are very common in all age groups. That’s because knee injuries are common due to overuse or athletic injuries.
Activities like running and biking can result in tight quadriceps muscles. Keep in mind that tight muscles can predispose you to injury. If so, quadriceps stretches will be implemented into a treatment plan.
It’s quite common for a physical therapist to prescribe various stretching exercises to individuals suffering from chronic pain conditions. Stretching takes on special importance when you’ve become less mobile due to issues such as osteoarthritis. The less you move your joints, the greater the likelihood that your muscles and connective tissues will lose some of their length.
This change obviously limits your joint motion even further and leaves you in even more pain. Stretches naturally support physical therapy recommendations such as walking, heat therapy, or massage therapy in increasing blood flow to painful joints and widening your pain-free range of motion.
Chronic pain syndromes often involve tight muscles. Syndromes such as fibromyalgia and its cousin, myofascial pain syndrome, cause muscle knots that limit muscle motion and trigger referred pain to other parts of the body. Regular stretching can help you “untie those” painful knots.
It’s important to make sure you’re doing the right kind of stretches before and after your workout. A physical therapist can put together an exercise routine for your specific type of workout.
Whether you’re playing a game of tennis, training for a mini-marathon, or walking through the neighborhood, physical therapy can help you make the most of your activities. A physical therapist can guide you regarding which types of stretches are the best for your current physical condition and the type of activities you’re participating in.
It’s also important to make sure you’re doing the right exercises in the correct way. You’ll want to make an appointment with a qualified physical therapist to learn what stretches are right for you. Physical therapy can help you make the most of your workouts and improve your overall health.
Whether you see a physical therapist or not, stretching should be a part of your daily routine. You’ll feel better, perform better, and avoid injury. Contact ProMotion Rehab and Sports Medicine today to learn more!