Whether you’re dealing with serious whiplash symptoms or just looking for a bit more general comfort, stretching can be a huge benefit. Stretching is both cheap and easy, requiring no equipment or special training, and can provide enormous positives for people in areas ranging from pain relief to posture and many more.
At Apollo Health Centers, our chiropractic services include recommending great, low-impact stretches to help complement our chiropractic treatments. Let’s look at some specifics on how stretching benefits the spine and the entire body, plus offer you some basic tips for stretching.
Stretching has shown benefits in several areas, including balance and flexibility. It allows for more ease of movement through stretching out various muscles. It’s also highly valuable for pain reduction – it can reduce everything from back pain to muscle soreness.
The list goes on, indeed. Stretching can help many people relax, a vital area given how big a role stress plays in certain injuries or chronic pain. Stretching improves circulation, a huge part of spinal alignment, and many people find it improves their mental alertness. It’s a known tactic to help fight off fatigue.
Stretching Steps and Tips
Some basic tips we can offer when it comes to stretching:
- Before starting, warm up the muscles using dynamic but simple movements. These might include slow pedaling on an exercise bike, doing jumping jacks or jogging around the room a few times.
- When you do begin stretching, do so slowly and in control. There’s no need for any sharp or rapid movement – this can actually damage muscles in some cases. Also, despite what you may see some others (incorrectly) doing, you should not bounce or bob up and down while stretching. This is less effective than simply holding the stretch, and like sharp movements, it can risk injury to muscles.
- As you’re stretching, use your breathing tactically. Exhale at the start of each stretch, then breathe normally through the stretch while holding each move for at least 20 seconds.
- Expect to feel a slight stretch or discomfort in the muscles. If you feel true pain here, though, or if you feel even minor discomfort in joints rather than muscles, stop and assess your form.
- Stretch both sides of the body equally.