You may have heard conflicting information about stretching, but if you want to use stretching to reduce chronic pain, there’s a way to stretch that will help, and there’s a way to stretch that will waste your time.
If you have chronic pain, you may need to adjust what you’re doing in order to get the most out of your stretching routine.
How do you know if you’re stretching incorrectly?
While there are thousands of different stretches, these general guidelines will tell you if you’re stretching incorrectly.
- Your stretches cause you pain. If your stretches are causing you pain, you’re pushing your muscles too far and doing more harm than good.
- You complete your stretches quickly. A good stretch gives the muscles time to relax in the stretched position.
- You’re holding your breath. Your body should be relaxed and allowing good blood flow to the muscles under tension.
So how do you stretch to reduce chronic pain?
If you have determined that you’re probably doing your stretches wrong, it’s simple to get back on the right track.
- Your stretches will be more effective if your muscles are slightly warmed up. This doesn’t mean you need to break a sweat or perform intense activity. Walking around or marching on the spot for a few minutes before stretching will be adequate to get your blood pumping.
- Keep the tension light and pressure gentle. You should be able to feel the stretch, but not be in pain because of it. Don’t be tempted to push yourself too far, which can cause injury.
- Hold each stretch for 60 seconds. You’re probably not holding your stretches anywhere near this long, but to help reduce chronic pain, you need to.
- Slowly increase tension. When you hold your stretches for the longer period of time, you’ll be able to slowly increase the stretch and lengthen the muscles. This is the objective to stretching that can only be achieved if you do them correctly.
Until next time, stay healthy, keep stretching and God bless.
The Stretch Coach
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