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Stretching for Pain Relief

By Stephen R. Farris

After running, walking, lifting, and/or bending, sometimes we may experience muscle pain or stiffness. It could be in our arms, legs, lower/upper back, or just about anywhere muscles are located in our bodies, which is basically all over.

The first thing we might try in order to alleviate muscle pain and stiffness is to grab whatever pain reliever we have in the medicine cabinet. Or we may try using a heating pad or ice pack, alternating between the two.

Another way to help gain relief from stiff or sore muscles is to stretch them out. The benefits are surprising and helpful. 

Benefits of Stretching

  • Increases your flexibility
  • Helps with your range of motion
  • Improves overall performance in activities
  • Improves posture
  • Increases blood flow to your muscles
  • Helps to heal and prevent back pain
  • Has a calming effect
  • Good for relieving stress
  • Helps decrease tension for headaches

Basic Stretching Techniques

There are a variety of stretching techniques you can try to help in relieving achy or sore muscles. Some of them include, dynamic, static, ballistic, PNF, passive, and active stretching. The two common stretching techniques used the most are dynamic and static. Dynamic stretches are normally pre-workout to help prepare your muscles for exercise, while static is reserved for post-workout to help reduce risk of injury.

Getting Started

The worst thing you could do when it comes to stretching, especially for the very first time, is to use improper technique. There is plenty of information available online in both text and video that can help guide you with proper technique. You should probably start with the more common ones -- dynamic and static -- in the beginning. Usually 5-10 minutes of each. Just remember dynamic is before exercise and static is used afterwards. 

Risks

While stretching can bring relief and help you recover, there are a few risks, especially if you have acute, chronic, or nagging injuries, and/or physical limitations. You may want to consult with your physician or a physical therapist to see if there is a routine designed to help with these conditions.

When you go see your local chiropractor for pain in your back, joints, neck, arms, legs, shoulder, and even muscle stiffness or strain, be sure to ask questions about stretching. Normally, they will give you tips and suggest different stretching techniques to help out with your recovery process, and even demonstrate how to do them properly.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Dallas, Tex.

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