One of the most common misconceptions in health care is this principle – “weak and tight” means “strengthen and stretch.” If there is one problem or complaint I hear the most it’s, “I’m always tight.” Usually, in the same breath, the same person will report that they just need to stretch, or they don’t stretch as often as they should. It usually comes as a surprise when I then tell this person that stretching won’t help them, and if you’re reading this and you always feel “stiff” it probably won’t help you either.
Stretching is the most overprescribed treatment in healthcare, and also the least beneficial. Now, don’t get me wrong there is a time and a place for stretching – yoga is fantastic – but fixing your stiffness and pain, it’s not going to happen!
Allow me to explain.
Our bodies were not programmed to handle the modern day lifestyle. Whether you work in a 9-5 desk position or work in a factory doing manual labor 40+ hours a week, both will have the same thing in common. Overuse. Overuse happens when we sit in prolonged positions or do repetitive activities, if we are not taking care of ourselves.
When we overuse our bodies, and fail to take care of it with proper rest, recovery, nutrients, this will often create a phenomenon called protective tension. Protective tension is created to help the body adapt to overuse. The body will make muscles spasm and contract to help protect any overloaded structure from further injury. Over a period of time, this gradually leads to adhesion formation.
If you are unfamiliar with adhesion, adhesion is the most common problem in the human body, but also the most misdiagnosed. Fortunately, it can be fixed easily with the right diagnosis and treatment. When present, it acts like glue on soft tissue structures like muscles, ligaments, and nerves. This glue then binds muscles and nerves together and decreases your flexibility and strength. Overtime, adhesion leads to altered joint mechanics and pain. Without the proper treatment, adhesion will eventually lead to chronic pain, chronic muscle sprain/strains, arthritis, and or spinal disc injuries (think herniation).
Check out this video below for a better demonstration and explanation.
We have been conditioned since elementary school days to think weak and tight means to strengthen and stretch. In reality, weak and tight is often a result of a problem! All of the stretches and strength exercises in the world will not help adhesion, in fact, it may make things worse. The most important thing that you can do is figure out why a muscle is weak and tight!
If this sounds familiar, it’s time to get some answers! At Thrive Spine and Sport, we are trained through the Integrative Diagnosis system to provide the most accurate and advanced diagnosis and treatment to chronic pain and overuse injuries. Many patients of our office have tried numerous providers before finding relief in our office.
Simply fill out the appointment request on this page, or call our office at 319-423-0925 to start feeling better today!
Thanks for reading!