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My Blog


Muscles and Stretching.

Posted on April 22, 2011 at 8:13 PM Comments comments (1421)
Pain free stay that wayWhy do physios always voice on about stretching and the importance of everything moving together in the perfect kinetic chain of movement. Its because of the importance of freely mobile muscles. The only work a muscle can do is contract, called flexion. When they do this the cells actually contract and slide between one another. Because they are attached to tendons which are attached to bones this action pulls the bone in the direction of the contraction. When one half of the pair is doing this, the other half is relaxing or extending, (stretching). When you bend your arm at the elbow, as in doing curls, your biceps and related muscles are flexing and your triceps are extending. When you straighten your arm, the muscles trade off and the group that was flexing is now extending, (stretching). So why should we stretch ? The purpose of stretching is to increase the elasticity of muscle, tendon, ligaments, capsules and fascia and quite simply encourage our bodies to lay down collagen in the proper fasicular alignment which in effect has a calming on our neuromuscular system.  An increase in tone ( hypertonicity) when the muscle is constantly overheated and abnormally contracted in its relaxed state will often lead to pain caused by the irritation of nerve endings or an increase in pressure in and between our muscles, which causes a slowing of our metabolism a build up of noxious waste and taut painful bands forming, inhibiting our cleansing ( lymphatic ) system from working properly and a viscious cycle of pain begins . 
If your talking about stretching before working out, although the muscle cells are relaxing and elongating, the related tendons and ligaments are actually benefitting more from the stretching than are your muscles, stretching a muscle thats not warm and vasculated with oxygen rich blood is pointless. Physical therapists seek to find the muscles that are not performing,  the ones making mild osteoarthritic conditions painful instead of slightly uncomfortable by pulling on an already degenerating joint, or that tight fourth layer muscle in your back that wants to lock your spine facet closed or open every time you sit or bend or play that round of early golf. If your musculoskeletal system is out of sync rest assured it can be corrected .