by | Ask the Doctor

Q: Why can’t I get my hamstrings to stay stretched? I know it is important for me to be flexible there to keep my bad back from flaring up, but it seems like they won’t stay loose.

A: If you are an athlete, you recognize the benefits of stretching, such as extended range of motion, less chance of injury, quicker recovery from workouts, increased potential of strengthening, increased stamina and feeling better overall. Chiropractors recommend several types of stretching or flexibility exercises for sporting enthusiasts.

Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) is a widely used method to increase the body’s potential to heal and increase performance. In AIS, you hold each position for only 1 to 2 seconds. Then you return to the starting position and relax. After resting for 2 seconds, you ease into the stretch again.

AIS can make substantial improvements in elasticity, adding renewed life and spring to aging muscles that are becoming less flexible. It may also help prevent injury by reducing tightness and allowing you to swing your limbs more freely. It transports oxygen to sore muscles and removes toxins for faster recovery. In addition, active isolated stretching works as a deep tissue massage technique because it stimulates muscle fibers.

Post isometric relaxation (PIR) is another great way to facilitate muscle lengthening. In this form of stretch, the muscle is fully lengthened and then contracted for 8-10 seconds in the fully stretched state. Then as the muscle is relaxed, it is stretched further, with no shortening phase, to a new and more fully stretched position. This is repeated three times for each muscle group.

Stretching is like brushing your teeth. Just ask your dentist if you can ever brush your teeth so well that you never have to brush them again. Laughable, right? Talk to your chiropractor about ways to better stay flexible. If they don’t find it important to teach you, then you might want to ask them why. Remember, it can take a long time for tissues like tendons to lengthen long term. Be realistic with your body… the commercials that show a person sick and then popping a pill that lets them run through a sunny field smiling and skipping through the flowers has misled us all and warped our expectations of our own body’s. True health and change of any kind takes effort and time.

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Voted Best Morgantown Chiropractic Office 2018, 2019, and 2021!

Voted Best Morgantown Chiropractic Office 2018, 2019, and 2021!