Quite often when a muscle feels tight your first impulse is to stretch it out, but this isn’t always the best thing to do. There are many benefits to flexibility, as your chiropractor has no doubt taught you by now. But whether or not stretching is a good idea really depends on what muscle is causing the flexibility issue in the first place. Some muscles should not be stretched without the professional guidance of someone like your chiropractor. Here is when stretching is the best option, and when it probably isn’t.
Why Muscles Get Tight
Muscles get tight for many reasons. Some muscles are tight because they hold a shortened position for long periods of time, such as when you’re sitting. That’s why if you have a sedentary job it’s very important to incorporate a stretching routine into your day.
Muscles can also become tight by being used too much. These are called overuse injuries and they are the result of pushing your body too far during a workout. This is another kind of muscle tightness that benefits from stretching.
Another reason muscles can get tight is to protect your body, and this most commonly happens with your hamstrings. Many times, hamstrings can become tight as a way to protect your lower back – but why does this happen?
Why Hamstrings Get Tight
When you bend forward a lot of pressure is put on the discs of your back. These spongy discs help to absorb shock and cushion the bones in your back, but if you have damaged disc tightness in your hamstrings can be a way of your body signaling that bending forward is a bad idea.
Many times, this sign is seen as a signal that you are out of shape, so stretching is performed. The problem is, these stretches can be done wrong by bending forward and attempting to touch your toes and that can damage the disc even further, which can then signal your body to tighten your hamstrings even more – and a vicious cycle is born.
If You Have Tight Hamstrings
If you notice you have tight hamstrings talk to your chiropractor about it. They can discuss with you the reasons why your hamstrings may be tight and help you to find ways to stretch them without putting pressure on your lower back. If you simply sit too long during the day, stretching is a great option, but if you have a damaged disc or nerve irritation then your chiropractor can help you figure out where to go from here.
This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.