I've been told SO many things about stretches over the years...you may be the same. Heck, I remember the crazy bouncing, ballistic stretches of the 80's, and I'm just glad I didn't tear something...
The stretches on our site are *very* specific. They are not just to stretch muscles, but they are to stretch connective tissue. They are specifically to open up long-standing restrictions in tissue causing tension and pain.
What's connective tissue, you ask? Everything that connects the
muscle fibers to each other, the muscles to the bones, the sheer tissue
that wraps *around* each muscle, and everything that's between all of
those soft structures, all the way up to the superficial layer of the
skin. If you have ever prepped a chicken to cook, when you peeled the
skin off of the meat, there is a thin layer, almost like a super thin
piece of plastic wrap, that is connecting the skin to the meat (muscle),
THAT is connective tissue.
It's everywhere, and necessary to our function. The sinister feature about connective tissue that a lot of people don't know, is that it can get really stuck together when it is slack around muscles for a long time, or it doesn't have optimal circulation for a time. It becomes much like two pieces of plastic wrap that just stick together, instead of the normal gliding function it naturally has when the area is healthy and pliable.
Some people ask us why we need to stretch at all. In today's world it's much more necessary, than when we (as a society) moved all day, in different directions, and weren't forced to work in ONE position. Our muscles and structures were meant to maintain their ranges of motion throughout normal movement in a day. Think about it, how many times do you bend backward or even reach your arms above your head, if you are driving, sitting at a computer or any other typical daily activity? My *guess* is not very often. Watching my children has been so educational. Their bodies naturally seek out some level of balance and increased circulation. The stand in front of our couch and lay backward, basically doing a back bend...they *want* to be upside down, and that is a great thing, because inverted positions get lots of oxygenated blood to our brains. Our lifestyles, for most everyone reading this, and nearly every client who walks through our door, causes inherent restrictions of muscles and connective tissue in their bodies. When the restrictions either cause pressure on smaller muscle groups, or when the muscle and connective tissue squeeze nerves, frequently, you get a sustained pain pattern. If this isn't making sense yet, let me give you an example of how a hamstring stretch and lower back pain stretches work for a pain pattern caused by different postural strains.
When we sit for a long period of time, basically all the power muscles which move our big old legs are shortened by that position. In a shortened position, you can imagine they are like a bunch of slack rubber bands. When put into this position for a long period of time, without optimal circulation, the fibers and tissue start to shorten and stick together. Many times we have people who start exercising, and they have either low back or knee discomfort, since many of those muscles that are sticking together are now not able to open up or contract efficiently. We assure them, the problem is NOT the exercise, it's their posture throughout the day.
Typically we share the specific stretches for hamstrings, hip flexor and hips/glutes first, since these are primary muscle groups which cause tension and pressure on the low back, hips or knees. Then we explain to them how the function of the hamstring muscle group work. If they are restricted over time, and there are no fibers left to recruit to hold your body in a 'dead lift' position, bending at the waist, where your hamstrings would normally hold your upper body in place, your low back will start to hurt when you lean over a changing table, lean slightly to do the dishes, or when you are doing anything in that position.
We have classes that explain the function of muscles
and connective tissue, if you want to see this type of movement and how
it affects motion and pain. We will also be posting more and more video
with explanations and instructions. The first stretching videos we are
posting are the
hamstrings and lower back,
calf (can help for plantar fasciitis and other foot pain),
and last, but not least,
arm (good for wrist and hand discomfort).
These all have video on the pages, and are specifically designed to help with chronic tension patterns, relieve pressure in joints, alleviate pressure and pain. They are particularly effective with repetitive strain injuries.
Please contact us if you have specific questions about how we can help you to feel better in your body again!
-Identify What Factors are Making Your Pain WORSE.
-Learn Precise Stretches that Get to the Source of Your Pain.
-Create Solid Support for Your Back Using Our Simple Methods.
Testimonials from those who have used this natural solution for chronic lower back pain:
"I can't believe I've been making my back pain worse for years, without knowing it! Thank you for sharing the information in the BodyPain Matrix(TM) Program! I now can completely manage my back pain with my stretches and I've stopped sitting in 'bad' ways.I am so glad I finally have an answer after suffering with my low back pain for over 5 years." -Sheryl B.
"I've been dependent on my chiropractor and massage therapist for years. It all helped, but I feel like someone finally showed me what to do, so that I now know how to help myself. I also found out what I was doing every day to make my lower back pain worse! Thank you for sharing these tools with me." Beth F.