Stretching exercises are used to help keep muscles and ligaments limber and flexible. Stretching can ease stiffness, increase your range of movement, reduce stress on joints, and increase the flow of blood and nutrients throughout the body, all of which help fight pain and are helpful as a part of a comprehensive chronic pain treatment program. Stretching, or flexibility training, is a way to reduce injuries and increase joint mobility. As you age, your muscles begin to tighten, lessening your range of motion. You find it’s more difficult to do the things you once found easy, such as picking up something from the floor, reaching for something over your head, turning your head while making a U-turn, or even getting dressed in the morning. Stretching helps lengthen your muscles and makes these everyday tasks easier. The muscles of those of you in chronic pain behave in the same way as in someone getting older, but at a greatly accelerated rate. Pain causes you to use your muscles less and move less, which eventually makes it that much more painful to do just about everything. When you limit the use of your muscles because of pain, they become tighter, which causes more pain. Here are a few examples of what stretching can help accomplish:
- Reduce muscle tension.
- Increase range of movement./li>
- Improve posture./li>
- Boost energy./li>
- Increase strength./li>
- Increase blood flow./li>
This blog post is an excerpt from A Day Without Pain (Revised) by Mel Pohl, MD, FASAM; Published by Central Recovery Press (CRP).