Is stretching good or bad for our body? A question that seems easy to answer right? But you may need to change that opinion!
Stretching: Good or Bad?
Is stretching good or bad for our body? A question most people will answer like that: Stretching is good because it makes more flexible, relaxes the muscles and help to prevent injury when doing sports.
What do you think when you hear this? Stretching may very often be quite harmful for our body, makes us more prone to injury, weakens the joints, is one of the main reasons for Spine and Joint Misalignments and therefore also for many back pains!
Because many common stretching exercises often violate our natural movement range of our joints and cause or favor existing misalignments. Didn’t they use devices for stretching (traction) to torture people in Medieval times?
Not all stretching is bad, and the correct stretching can prepare our muscles for action and avoid injury.
Observing people over the years I found out a few interesting facts:
Many people who stretch regularly still suffer from frequent Back Pains while others who don’t do any stretching (actually no exercise at all) seems to have less trouble with their Back.
But for people who suffer from frequent Back Pains and usually don’t do exercises including stretching their problems mostly lessens or disappears if they start with the right exercises and regularly stretching.
This seems to contradict on the first view doesn’t it?
No worry it makes perfect sense why? The answer lies in the Spine or more specific in the Alignment of the Spine.
The Mechanics are as follows: If the spine has no misalignments (or only few and small misalignments) then stretching is rarely harmful and when muscle tension mainly caused by stress (often together with emotional issues) leads to Back Pains then stretching will ease that tension and the Pain lessens.
But if there are misalignments stretching may favor these misalignments and the muscle tension gets worse as soon as the temporary relaxing effect of the stretching subsides. Stress (incl. Inner issues) can worsen the condition or lessen it as well.
These facts are a role model prove for the often described connection between Body-Mind-Spirit.
In short: No or small misalignments together with no or little stress produce a healthy Pain free body (and have a positive balancing influence on our non physical side as well)
Stretching in this case is usually beneficial.
Existing Misalignments mostly together with stress related issues produce an imbalance on the physical level and Pains or other often chronic inner conditions are likely to develop (and then also have a negative influence on the non physical side).
Stretching in this case can be more harmful than beneficial.
First and most important step in any case: We need to work on our Spinal Alignment first! And we must try to achieve an Alignment (Balance) on the Non Physical Side as well.
However most stretching is actually an ‘overstretching’ of our muscles that may make our joints more unstable and prone to injury but it is called by sports pro’s more ‘flexible’ and ‘ necessary preparation for action’, warm up etc.
This stretching often goes over our personal and natural movement range of our joints and may do more harm than good as mentioned already earlier.
Our muscles have a natural state of tension (called inertia) that prepares us for fast reaction and by ‘overstretching’ we ‘weaken’ that natural tension and the muscles show a slower reaction time that is why it is more likely that stretching is increasing the chance for injury and not lowering it.
Most sports pro’s and it seems even Medical Doctors don’t know these facts and therefore assume stretching as a necessary part of our movements either to prepare for sport or to stretch in case in back Pains etc.
Some more info on this you find on my website: http://www.dorn-method.com ,and in my book about the Dorn Method. You can also write me an e-mail with your questions and feedback or critic.