This week we have had an influx of patients with rigidity of the spinal column. It has really surprised me that most people know that exercise is extremely important for your health, but don’t know that stretching is just as important.
Stretching and just moving your body through its normal ranges of motion prevents so much muscular and articular (joint) tension, it could save you a lot of money and trips to the massage therapist and even the chiropractor!
I give the analogy to my patients – chiropractic care is like going to the dentist to get your teeth checked. They clean you teeth with a super-washer to get them perfect and you leave feeling fantastic in your mouth – it is then our job to go home, brush and floss our teeth to prevent future problems.
Flossing and brushing your spine comes in two forms. EXERCISE AND STRETCHING.
Overnight, the discs in your back refill with fluid, which make you feel stiffer. Stretching help to start moving the fluid and nuture the joint. That´s why we stretch when we wake up: it´s an instinctive thing we do for our joints, muscles and circulation. It also sets the muscles up for the day after they have been stuck in the same position after being a curled up while asleep. So, start with a basic stretching routing every morning and evening. It doesn’t have to take long. Focus on the spine and moving it in all ranges (one movement at a time works best i.e. forward bending only followed by sideward bending). Stretching recallbrates the muscle spindles (the muscle sensors) which detect how short or long a muscle should be. Take the muscles gently to the extreme, outside of its ususal length, so it can get back to normal again. Alos our heart rate slows down while we sleep and stretching stimulates it – helping to move blood around the body.
Also, make it a habit of moving your body; dance, swimming, walking, sports… pick your choice. Avoid rough twisting movements and powerwalking is generally better for you back than jogging. If you enjoy running do it on soft surfaces, like a treadmill or in nature. Enjoy!