Have you been doing your stretches and exercises? Most of us will respond with a “NO” because we are feeling better. Yes, it is true that stretching and exercises help to remove the pain. The importance of flexibility goes far beyond initial pain relief and extends to keep joints healthy and help pains from increasing in the future.
The problem lies in our communications with you. People consult us for help when they are in pain, and treatments usually end with a series of spinal adjustments and a series of stretches for you to do at home. So the association exists that when you get pain you should try your stretches then call for an appointment to get adjusted. When in fact if the stretches are done daily and adjustments are schedule routinely pain can be prevented most of the time. We will briefly discuss the reasoning for this.
In order for joints to be healthy and have pain free movement it requires proper nerve control, muscle tone and nutrition. These three systems are interrelated and rely on each of the other to function properly, if one is altered joint injury occurs and pain is the outcome.
Daily stretching is required to allow muscles to maintain their proper length and tone. When muscles are shortened they become weaker and easier to tire. This increases the chance of mild strains and sprains with pain being the outcome. Due to our normal daily activities consisting of repetitive movements and bad posture stretching is essential to prevent tight/shortened/weak muscles. If you spend 8 hours slumped behind a desk, stretching for 20 seconds twice a week does nothing. Stretching multiple times and making sure to keep changing positions in your chair is a must.
Proper movement in the joint helps to nourish the joint and prevent tissue injury. This is very important in the spine with regards to the discs. The majority of disc nourishment comes from joint movement. Movement is also responsible for proper nerve control of the joint. Nerve control is achieved by special joint receptors called mechanoreceptors, they basically tell the brain where each joint is in relation to all the other joints and also lets the brain know if the joint is moving or resting. Close your eyes and touch your nose… …this is made possible by mechanoreceptors.
These special movement cells also connect to your bodies pain cells and make them less sensitive…..thus it prevents pain. So, when those joints are moving improperly the body is more sensitive to pain and the brain is less aware of body positioning which will tighten up muscles (adding to the pain).
When joints become chronically tight and inflamed they tend to lock up and are in need of an adjustment to restore proper movement.
In conclusion, when our joints are moving properly, due to daily stretching and routine adjustments, they are properly nourished and providing the body normal nerve control. This all combines to maintain healthy and pain free joints. Take care of your joints: stretch daily, have routine adjustments, have a good diet and do stability work.