When to Strengthen Muscles vs. When to Stretch Them for Better Posture Support
Muscle aches and pains are common. While you might brush them off as commonplace, however, it might instead be worth understanding what the reason for this discomfort is. Understanding your muscle pain provides insight into resolving whatever is causing it – whether it’s overexertion or a problem with your body’s support system.
Some people tend to think the best way to deal with muscle aches is by stretching. Others attribute it to issues with strength. In fact, both are correct, albeit situationally dependent. Unfortunately, many people often confuse these two activities for one in the same. Knowing the difference between the two and when to use each is crucial for enabling your body to properly support itself.
Not sure if you should be stretching or strengthening? Your chiropractor could have valuable insight. The experienced team at Advanced Spine & Posture is accustomed to helping Las Vegas, NV patients understand the needs of their muscles and how to best support them. After all, chiropractic isn’t just about spinal adjustments, it’s about supporting your long-term wellness.
Stretching and strengthening: what’s the difference?
The first step in knowing when to stretch versus when to strengthen comes from appropriately defining these terms.
Strengthening a muscle involves consciously activating it. This happens by shortening the muscle or holding it in static contraction. By tightening the muscle fibers, eventually the muscle will ache or burn, signaling strengthening. Strengthening muscles that have become weak through a lack of use is important to maintaining strong posture.
Stretching involves lengthening the muscle. One end of the muscle remains stable, while the other end stretches. In stretching, the muscle is never consciously activated. Through daily activities, muscles are liable to shorten and in these cases, stretching can help.
Distinguishing musculature needs
Once you have an understanding of what stretching and strengthening are, it becomes easier to understand when one is applicable over the other in terms of postural maintenance.
For example, someone with a strained gluteal might need to stretch their hamstrings. This may be necessary to alleviate stress that could lead to subluxations (misalignments) in the spine when the body relies on other muscles for support. However, someone with kyphosis (curvature of the spine) would be better served strengthening their core to prevent unwanted shifting of vertebrae. This will support proper posture, which will in turn reduce symptoms associated with this condition.
In short, stressed or fatigued muscles are likely to need stretching to reduce strain, while weak or infrequently-used muscles benefit from strengthening.
Why visit a chiropractor?
Your chiropractor is a valuable resource for changing your lifestyle in an effort to combat a variety of muscle pain conditions. As spinal experts, chiropractors know when and where you need to stretch and strengthen to enhance your health, based on the stature of your spine and posture. And, when combined with spinal manipulation (which resets vertebrae), a low-impact stretching or strengthening program can yield tremendous results, including:
- Fewer, less-severe pain flare-ups;
- Increased range of motion;
- Better, more restful sleep;
- Higher energy levels;
- Increased blood flow.
Advanced Spine & Posture knows that muscle pain can severely impede your lifestyle. We offer our Las Vegas, NV patients the expertise they need to overcome muscle aches through targeted stretching and strengthening.
Contact us today to learn more about the Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) program we use to pinpoint postural problems and discern conditioning solutions. Get a free consultation today!
Chiropractic BioPhysics, or CBP, is one of the most scientific, researched, and results-oriented corrective care techniques. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health, eliminating nerve interference and addressing the source of pain, fatigue, and disease. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is gentle, painless, and non-invasive.