STRETCHING FOR PAIN RELIEF
STRETCHING & PAIN RELIEF
Will stretching help reduce pain?
When you are stressed, your muscles tighten in response to the fight-or-flight response. Over time the constant tension turns into dense muscle tissue called fibrosis. This fibrosis impinges on nerves in the neck, low back and other areas. If you have ever had a massage you may have noticed that you typically feel better afterward. For example, you visit a massage therapist because you have neck pain. Afterward, your neck pain is gone. There is a physiological reason for this. Before the massage, there were dense muscle fibers caused by stress. The massage therapist, through massage and stretching, “broke up” the muscle tissue and the nerves were no longer impinged. This is why stretching is such an effective technique for relieving pain in the muscles.
Should stretching hurt?
Stretching should not hurt. If you are feeling pain during a stretch you should stop immediately. At the start of a stretch you will feel pulling on the muscle. This must happen in order for the muscle to lengthen. Typically as you relax into a stretch the tension will decrease and you will be able to go further into the stretch.