Stretching has been used for years to either treat tight muscles or to improve athletic performance and improve recovery. The logic is that by stretching the muscles it removes the knots and can provide relief so the body can heal better. Read below to find out IF stretching is a good idea for you, and IF mobilisation might produce better results!
Before we go into which is better itâ€™s important to establish why those muscles are tight in the first place. If this is happening after exercise then it makes PERFECT sense to stretch or mobilise as this will help to re-align the muscles fibres that get used during exercise and to make your recovery faster and more efficiently.
â€œThink of the muscle fibres like ropes, if you store them tied up in knots it makes it harder to use them in the future, but if you detangle them (by stretching) then they will be easier to use againâ€
However, if the muscles are tightening up without the physical stress of exercise then this may indicate a problem in the body. The muscles act as our first line of defence when there is an increase in pressure on the joints or nerves. In these situations the brain tells the muscles to contract or spasm to prevent the pressure increasing on the joints and nerves any further.
â€œThink of it like a parent pushing a child out of the way of oncoming traffic. The child may fall and get hurt, but it prevents the bigger danger of being hit by a car. The body acts similarly, tensing the muscles and causing discomfort as a lesser of evils to protect youâ€
A common way to deal with this kind of issues is to go for a massage or acupuncture to help relax these tight muscles. Another home remedy is to stretch out the muscles, however if the muscles are tightening as self-defence then this can take away the protection the muscles offer and make things worse.
â€œAre your muscles feeling tight? Do you notice that your muscles regularly spasm? Or do you find sometimes you pull a muscle in your back when you do something small like reaching for a cup of coffee or getting out of bed?â€
If this is the case then it is best to visit a chiropractic centre in Singapore and check with a Chiropractor to find out exactly why the muscles are tensing up, what they are protecting and if stretching or mobilising are advisable.
So should I mobilise?
If it is safe to get the muscles moving then here lies the question, stretch or mobilise? Your body is made of different joints and muscles to allow a range of activities, from bending and running, to reaching high cupboards and picking up your children.
Stretching – involves moving large muscle groups in a broad range of motion
Mobilisation â€“ focuses on increasing the range of movement at the joint
If the joint is tight then the muscles around it will not be able to stretch properly and achieve a full range of motion. If this joint stays tight then the muscles around it will continue to tighten over and over again as a reaction to the misalignment at the joint level. However, if the mobility increases at the joint then the muscles can move fully during exercise and relax properly after exercise.
â€Think of the joints and muscles like a suitcase filled with things for your holiday. If the items in the suitcase arenâ€™t properly arranged then itâ€™s harder to close the suitcase and the outside becomes tight. But if we rearrange the items in the suitcase (mobilisation of the joint) then the suitcase is easier to close (muscles loosening).â€
There can also be tightness in the muscles, so the best results come from utilising both of these practices depending on your condition or goals.
Read more about Mobility Work, here.
Whatâ€™s the routine to use?
Before exercise do a warm up to increase the blood flow, and use some mobilisation if a fuller range of motion will help your exercise (such as mobilising hips before a run or squats). After exercise mobilise the joints THEN stretch the muscles as they will be able to achieve a fuller range of motion, resulting in better, faster results! To find out how to mobilise your joints effectively, check out our instructional videos for easy to master techniques that only take a couple of minutes!
If youâ€™re unsure or have concerns about whether you should (or shouldnâ€™t) be stretching or doing mobilisation for certain muscles, contact a Chiropractor or an upper cervical chiropractic practitioner for more advice. Chiropractors specialise in theÂ nervous system, utilising techniques to get to the cause of problems. Chiropractors often allow muscles to release and relax without having to use ANY massage or soft tissue techniques.
Since 2013, Upper Cervical Chiropractor, Dr. Shaan Rai has helped patients achieve greater health, relocating to Singapore in 2016 and founding Vitality Chiropractic Centres. He has an impressive track record in providing relief and solutions for people who experience nerve system problems, such as headaches, migraines, dizziness, vertigo or neurological conditions.
Take your life back.
For a Complimentary, no-obligation call with the Doctor or to book a Consultation, call +65 8438 9550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out if we can help you at our Chiropractic Clinic in Singapore.