Athletes, trainers and sports massage therapists debate the importance of stretching on an on-going basis, but recent research suggests that if athletes can learn to overcome the short term pain of pushing their muscle length into further range, then they’ll enjoy the benefit of increased flexibility.
The research derives from focus on post-operative knee patients that showed that, under anaesthetic, their muscle range was far greater than when they were conscious, something suggested that it was not that their muscles were tight, but that their brain’s pain response to stretching was what was causing them to stop.
So how can athletes take advantage of this phenomena? One suggestion is that to reduce the brains influence, the muscles are dynamically stretched. What is meant by this is that movement of a muscle about a joint is encouraged. This sort of movement familiarises the brain and soft tissue to the pain of the increased range of movement and leads to a sustainable increase in muscle length. As the strength is gained in this new range of movement, the muscle in question becomes easier to use, thus requiring less stretching to maintain the increased length.
Most physiotherapists and sports massage therapists agree that a painful muscle is generally one that has involuntarily contracted and has undergone the body’s natural reaction to protect an injured area. As the spasm reduces, fresh oxygenated blood restarts the metabolism and the pain intensity will decrease.
As part of a rehabilitation programme, physio and sports massage therapists develop dynamic stretching to help reduce this muscle pain, thus enabling increased flexibility and quicker rehabilitation.
But exactly what is Physiotherapy? Physiotherapy, or Physio is a treatment that can help most injured or disabled people to recover movement and functions to their full potential. Physiotherapists treat the physical problems that are associated with muscles, bones, nerves, cartilages, tendons, ligaments, joints and soft tissues.
The benefits of physio can be endless, no matter what your age or your activity level. Whether or not you have been managing a long-term medical condition of you’ve suffered a sudden injury, physiotherapy can help to reduce your pain and increase your mobility.
A good physiotherapist will help you to improve your strength, range of motion, endurance and joint mobility whilst at the same time reducing your stiffness and relieving your pain. To find a good Physiotherapist in Derby, listen out for recommendations from friends. Look for online reviews and any mentions in local press and media. And if you are really unsure, you could always visit your GP who will be able to refer you.