“I know I need to stretch more but I don’t know how”

The title of this blog post is most likely something you have said before, or something along those lines. We all know that it will help us get rid of those annoying and nagging pains in the lower portion of our back and neck among other places but we rarely actually do it. Why?

There are probably a few different reasons for this:

  • We don’t know exactly how to stretch
  • We don’t know which stretches are the best for our own issues
  • We don’t have or make time
  • We don’t prioritise stretching so it gets forgotten at the end of the day
  • We don’t know the full extent of the benefits, we just get told to stretch

“Lower back pain affects approximately two-thirds of adults…”

At Pro Sports Lab, we look at the whole package when it comes to improving quality of life, and flexibility is a vital, yet overlooked by the general population, component of health and fitness. Lower back pain affects approximately two-thirds of adults at some points in their life and it is most often sedentary workers that make this complaint, so those who work at a desk for example. What happens here is quite simple, the poor posture puts unwanted pressure through the spine and increases the pressure on the discs that sit between each vertebrae, creating tension in the surrounding tissues that support the spine, producing the pain we feel.

So what can we do about it? We can stretch more and stretch more effectively! You have to make time to stretch regularly. Stretch in the office, on your lunch break, during your commute, before you go to bed or set aside a block of time that you can dedicate to yourself for this purpose.

“…static stretching every day for up to 2 minutes has no effect on range of motion”

A 30 second static stretch is not the most effective method of stretching to increase muscle length. In fact, static stretching every day for up to 2 minutes has been shown to have no effect on range of motion and methods such as PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular technique) produce greater increases in range of motion than passive, static, or ballistic stretching methods.

A quick run-down of some of the less obvious benefits of stretching and how these come about. Now the fact that stretching increases range of motion about a joint is the obvious one, but what we may not know is that this happens through a multitude of ways. Firstly, stretching improves circulation and brings in fresh blood to the tissues on stretch, increasing oxygen and nutrient supply to reduce tension. It creates greater space within the joint for fluid to freely move about which also decreases joint pain. And finally, the greater the range of motion, the less energy it takes muscles to move as elastic energy is stored and released more effectively, so you’re going to feel less sluggish. This is where we come in…

We have created our ‘Stretch Therapy’ treatment sessions where the therapist uses more advanced techniques for an assisted stretching treatment to make a lasting effect on range of motion and all the benefits that come with that as we discussed earlier in this article. The first session is our ‘signature session’ where we give the body “a full MOT” so to speak using our signature stretches to assess where the weaknesses lay and we tailor it from there. If you are interested, please watch the video below or ask our Therapy Team for more information or to book a session.

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