Chiropractic Works with Dr. Birk

To Stretch or Not to Stretch

Posted: September 20, 2013
By: Dr Ruminder Birk

Stretching should be an integral part of an individual's life, especially before and after exercising. Most patients will agree that stretching seems to prevent problems and injuries from the activities of daily living.

But sometimes stretching does not help solve the underlying issue. The question then arises: Why is something so effective for preventing a problem and completely useless as a cure. Some patients will even say that their normal pre-activity stretches actually make the pain get much worse.

That is because stretching is designed to lengthen muscles and tendons. But back problems typically affect the ligaments and the discs. And the problem is that the ligaments get stretched out, allowing the bones to move into abnormal positions. So while stretching may help a tight muscle, it will not help heal tendons and will stretch them out further.

Furthermore, delicate nerves of the lower spine cross the disk areas and with stretching, those nerves can lengthen and become even more irritated. Therefore, if you find that your normal stretches seem to have no effect on your pain or even make the pain worse, then that is a sign the ligaments have been damaged. Furthermore, stretching will not help and you will need to consult a chiropractor who will perform an examination of the ligaments and discs and align them again.

Chiropractors adjustments are designed to align the bones of the spine so that the ligaments do not remain stretched-out. With continous adjustments, the bones begin to hold their normal position for longer periods of time and gradually the ligaments begin to shorten. The chiropractor can also suggest stretching exercies that only target the muscles and keep the ligaments intact and prevent further damage.