Therapeutic Flexibility Training
This article is written by Loren Middag, PT who is the Head Physical Therapist of Marketplace Physical Therapy Redlands. Loren has been one of the Best Physical Therapists in the Inland Empire for over 25 years and has helped over 30,000 patients with their rehabilitation. He is an avid Bodybuilder and passionate about Wellness.
Why is flexibility training important?
In today’s society, we are plagued by postural imbalances, primarily because of our sedentary lifestyles. More and more people today are spending the majority of their time in an office chair, driving in the car, and in front of the television. More than ever before, flexibility training may decrease the occurrence of muscle imbalances, joint problems, and overuse injuries.
Simple 10 Min Regimen
Without optimum levels of flexibility, it may not be possible for you to achieve your goals without getting injured. It is critical for you to learn about flexibility training and how you can apply it to your body’s needs. You may be surprised to find that most back, knee, and other joint pains can be decreased just by simply following a 10-minute daily regimen. We have seen some amazing results in limited time with our patients at Marketplace Physical Therapy.
What is flexibility?
Flexibility is the normal extension of all soft tissues that allow the full range of motion of a joint. Proper flexibility allows the nervous system and muscles to communicate more efficiently.
Have you ever noticed a delay in your muscle movement? This can happen with simple things, such as bending over to tie your shoes or reaching in the cupboard for dishes. This occurs because your nervous system is losing the ability to communicate properly with your muscles. This happens when the body becomes tight, leading to imbalanced muscle movement, limited coordination, and weak posture. All of these leads can lead to more injuries too, which then leads to scar tissue and even tighter muscles!
The “Kinetic Chain”
It is very important to understand how this works. The kinetic chain of the body is comprised of the muscular system, the skeletal system, and the nervous system. These are some pretty important components, wouldn’t you say? The kinetic chain is the cornerstone of a sound therapy training program. If just one segment of the chain is misaligned and not functioning properly, patterns of dysfunction begin to develop. These patterns of dysfunction are referred to as “postural distortions.”
It is crucial to understand that your body’s kinetic chain is to always seek the path of least resistance as you go about your day and exercise.
Do you bend at the knees and squat down properly using your quadriceps and glutes, or do you tend to use your lower back by bending at the hips? Most people use their back because it’s the path of “least resistance.” You will also find that during exercise you may have a strong tendency to break from proper form. Why? Because it is easier on the muscle. But, doing so can lead to tightness, poor posture, muscle imbalances, and injury. Don’t worry, we are here to help you correct this! However, you need to be willing to perform the assigned stretches that we provide for you.
Benefits of Flexibility Training on the Chain
- Correcting muscle imbalances
- Increasing joint range of motion
- Relieving joint stress
- Improving the extension of tendons
- Maintaining the normal length of all muscles
- Improving nerve-to-muscle communication (neuromuscular efficiency)
- Better range of motion
The Cumulative Injury Cycle
Poor posture and repetitive movements create dysfunction within the kinetic chain. As a result, the body will initiate the repair process known as the “cumulative injury cycle.” Here is how it works.
Any trauma to the tissue of the body creates inflammation. Inflammation activates the body’s pain receptors and initiates a protective mechanism, increasing muscle tension and causing a muscle spasm. As a result of the spasm, adhesions (or knots) begin to form in the soft tissue. This then prevents our nerves from communicating with our muscles properly, even though our brain is trying to send the signals. This causes muscular imbalances, and the cycle then repeats itself.
This cycle can quickly compound and can seem impossible to get out of. However, with the proper flexibility and therapy training, you can become free of this cycle.
Take the time in your busy schedule to stretch your body!! It will improve your overall quality of life and increase your range of motion! As always please consult your Physician or Physical Therapist before starting any new exercise program. You are welcome to schedule a free consultation with Loren at Marketplace Physical Therapy Redlands.