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9 Reasons Why You Need to Start Stretching

Thursday, December 20th, 2018

If you haven’t made stretching a part of your daily life yet, here is the only question we have for you: Why not? A good stretch is the perfect way to start your day, whether you’re young or old, fit or unfit. There are tremendous benefits to stretching, and we’re going to talk about why you need to start doing it today. If you don’t know where to start, get in touch with Crestview PT because a physical therapist can help!

Improve Your Energy Level

This is the best reason to get in a good stretch first thing in the morning. A few good stretches, conducted properly with deep breathing, can give you a burst of energy to start your day off. If you start to feel sluggish at work during the day, take a quick “stretch break” to boost your energy level.

Improve Your Flexibility

A common goal in physical therapy is to improve your flexibility and range of motion. Better flexibility carries a host of benefits. It improves your physical performance, reduces the chances of injury and when you become more flexible, your body requires less energy to carry out everyday actions.

Reduce Chance of Injury

You work in an office, so there’s no chance of getting injured, right? Except for that one time when you have to bend over, pick up and carry a 20-pound box of office supplies for some reason. And then, you pull or strain a muscle, resulting in several weeks of pain and physical therapy to recover. But that won’t happen to you, because you’ve been stretching on a regular basis, haven’t you? You’re welcome.

Improve Your Posture

Stretching every day can help posture by lengthening muscles that have a tendency to tighten up when we sit in a chair for work all day. Focusing on your lower back, chest and shoulders will aid in keeping your spine in the proper alignment. Stretching also relieves aches and pains, which can cause you to want to slouch.

Better Blood Circulation

One of the main goals of a stretching regimen is to get your blood flowing to the extremities. Blood carries oxygen to your cells and makes you healthier overall. That promotes cell growth and helps your organs function properly. Stretching also lowers your heart rate, which reduces strain on your heart and causes your blood pressure to become more consistent. Best of all, the better blood circulation from stretching reduces post-workout soreness.

Improve Your Cholesterol

Stretching sessions can help to reduce cholesterol in your body, as long as you’re also following a heart-healthy diet. This can help you to avoid heart disease. Stretching has even been shown to reverse the effects of hardening arteries due to cholesterol.

Improve Your Stamina

A good, long stretching session after a heavy workout can actually improve the stamina of your muscles. When you stretch, it increases the blood flow to those sore muscles and relieves fatigue. Stretching keeps oxygen flowing to your muscles, which delays the onset of muscle fatigue. This, in turn, helps your muscles to “hang in there” for a longer period of time before fatigue sets in!

Reduce Muscle Soreness

Give your muscles plenty of time to relax and loosen up with a good stretch before and after a workout. As mentioned, stretching improves blood flow to the muscles. This carries oxygen and plenty of necessary nutrients to the muscles, which in turn reduces soreness after your workout.

Reduce Stress

We carry stress in our bodies. Too much stress can cause your muscles to contract, which makes you feel tense and on edge. Stretching can release endorphins which will relax you, improve your mood and reduce stress in the body.

 

If you’re excited to start stretching but don’t know where to begin, we’re here to help! Contact our Crestview office today to set an appointment with a physical therapist if you want to add stretching to your daily life.

 

Constant Stress-Related Headaches? Here’s How Physical Therapy Can Help

Monday, December 10th, 2018

Sometimes, a pill just doesn’t cut it when it comes to stress headaches. This class of headache includes the classic “band of pressure” around your head, as well as generalized aching and tenderness. The kind of muscle tension and emotional stress that lead to this type of head pain can create a complex chain reaction. Physical therapy provides relaxation and posture correction. You’ll not only experience relief of your current headache, but future stress headaches may decrease.

Hands-On Relief

Some headache prevention techniques are simple enough to do at home. But a physical therapist can provide a more targeted approach when you’re anticipating a stress headache — or are in the grip of one. Alternating cold and heat therapy is a simple but effective strategy. These specialized compresses and gentle electronic pulse wands ease muscle strain. They also provide soothing relief.

 

Manual therapy also includes massage for stress headache treatment. Soft tissue mobilization relaxes tense muscles. Because of this effect, massage can provide immediate pain relief, or prevent future headaches. If you are currently having a headache, a physical therapy session eases the pain by relaxing the muscles in your jaw, temples, neck, and shoulders.

 

In addition, patients with chronic tension headaches report decreased incidents of head pain when undergoing regular massage therapy. It’s believed that relaxing the muscles in and around the head prevent the contractions that result in pain.

 

Physical therapy massage also helps ease the emotional stress that causes you to tense those muscles. In addition, people who get regular therapeutic massages report getting better rest, which leads to less stress during the day.      

Posture Correction

The way we stand and sit can influence how much pressure is put on various muscles. Poor posture compresses muscles and nerves. For many people, these overworked muscles and nerves in the shoulder, chest and neck area trigger tension headaches.

 

Your physical therapist can help evaluate your posture for areas that need improvement. He or she will also demonstrate the correct way to move, sit and stand. These changes place less stress on overworked muscles.

In addition to demonstrating chest, back and shoulder positions, a physical therapist can suggest lifestyle changes. Modifications to workstations at home and at work often have a big effect on posture. They might include a telephone headset, a raised computer monitor, a specialized chair and even a rubber mat to stand on while doing kitchen tasks.

Strength Training

Your shoulders, back and neck do a lot of the “heavy lifting” when it comes to keeping you supported throughout the day. If the muscles in these areas are too weak, they get overworked. Physical therapy work on neck and upper back muscles involves resistance training to build up the muscles.

 

For many people, stronger upper body muscles equate to fewer — and less intense — stress headaches. Exercises might start with simple chin-to-chest nods to build neck strength. Free weights and resistance bands build up shoulder and back muscles.

Flexibility Improvement

The more that you’re able to move your neck and shoulders as you move through your day, the less pressure you put on the major muscle groups in those areas. This potentially alleviates some of your stress headaches. In physical therapy, you’ll learn moves that will stretch your neck and loosen up your chest and shoulder muscle and tendon groups. Doing these regularly may help some people with chronic stress headaches.  

 

Want to learn more about relieving the frequency and severity of your chronic stress headaches? Contact Crestview PT to learn more. We’ll set up an evaluation of your specific challenges. We’ll also suggest a course of treatment to help you relax muscles, sleep better and make lifestyle choices that can fight off some of those debilitating stress headaches.