Have you ever thought about why you don’t see any improvement in your flexibility even though you may “stretch” every day?
I had a client ask me why her husband continues to have tight hamstrings even though he has been stretching daily for 15 years? Well there are many issue involved in this answer.
First, we are 3 dimensional people, unlike cartoons that are 2 dimensions, which also means that our muscles and bones work in 3 dimensions. If you stretch in only 1 dimension or plane of motion, when you complete the stretch, the muscle goes back to its original length.
Second, if you have had an injury, even a minor injury that “heals” on its own, you can have fascial restrictions which results in a loss of flexibility. I was watching a baseball pitcher who’s mechanics seemed to be off, so the power and speed behind the ball were diminished. As I observed his entire body go through the motions, it looked like there was a restriction down at his ankle. It turns out he had a minor ankle sprain 10 years previously that he didn’t even think about.
This minor ankle sprain, though, resulted in an imbalance in the way he used his legs, which worked its way up to an imbalance and ineffective use of the pelvis to get the power behind the pitch.
If one link in the chain is affected, it will affect the rest of the chain. Restrictions in fascia and soft tissue can create imbalances. Imbalances that are not corrected, create injury because one muscle or body part will compensate and overcompensate for the restricted/injured part.
If your 4th toe on the left foot hurts to put weight on it, what will you do? You will change where you put the weight on that foot. Let’s say you go to the inside of the foot to avoid the 4th toe. Working up the chain, now you can put stress on the inside of the left knee and overwork the right hip because you may be putting less weight on the left foot. Over time, you will create not only an imbalance and ineffective way to move, creating loss of mobility which could progressively lead to more stiffness and pain.
What to do about this?
Stretching and releasing has to be done in 3 dimensions or planes of motion. I had a client who said her calf started to spasm in her walk, so she remembered our discussions and began walking backwards. This is a functional way to stretch the calf, besides ways to effectively recruit the core, and the spasm eased and she was able to continue on her walk.
Check that what you do on one side you also repeat on the other side. For instance, if you stand on the right leg or cross the right leg over the left, then you need to reverse this and stand on the left leg or cross the left leg over the right. Give it equal time.
Try this simple exercise: lift you right arm over head then the left. Is there a difference? Sit and extend the left leg then the right leg. Is there a difference?
If there is a difference, say in the legs, see what happens if you do reps. of lifting one arm or the good leg. Then retest this and now see if both legs are equal. It may surprise you how a different body part can affect another and create balance again.
Lastly, if none of this makes sense or you just aren’t sure where to go from here, contact us at 301-493-9257. Many times it is too hard to see for yourself where the imbalance is stemming from and you need a pair of expert eyes to observe the root cause of what is going on and then educate you on what to do to correct it. This may not happen overnight because remember how long you have compensated for the injury and taught your body a new way to move. Now you will be teaching your body a whole new way of moving to correct the imbalance and stop the recurrence of injury.
Click here to schedule a Free 20 minute call to discuss your issues and how we can help you and begin your journey back to freedom of movement without pain and restrictions and to get you back to the activities you love to do, whether it be skiing, running, dancing, walking.
To Your Helath,