Dr. Andrew Crellin- West Warwick, Rhode Island
Yes, another stretching article. Here’s hoping you might find something in it that can be of use to you.
Let’s face it, unless you are a young aspiring martial artist, dancer or gymnast you probably think of stretching your body before increased physical activity as a necessary evil in order to avoid injury. I know I do.
It’s generally boring, uncomfortable and delays the fun you want to have in the first place. This is not an article telling you that you don’t have to stretch or that it can be fun. But I am telling you, it’s necessary if you want to continue to compete and not be set back by injury. There is an old adage “There was a time where we played sports to stay in shape, now we have to stay in shape to play sports”. This becomes more real every day as we age. Most of us, (especially golfers) will do a quick “one, two” before heading out to the first tee. Placing the driver behind your back and twisting to and fro. Really? Did you think that’s all you needed? Maybe so. We get away with things we know are inadequate every day. But you also know odds can stack up against you.
No, I’m not telling you lay down at the tee box and lift you leg as high as it can go blah blah blah…
Stretching just before your activity loosens you up temporarily for the beginning of that activity and then as you continue to become more active you feel a gradual loosening all around. Congratulations you got away with it again.
Injuries, in general are bad. But when they happen to you, it’s the end of the world, every time! One of the most important things a healthcare provider to do for his patients is to teach them how not to come down with the particular affliction they treat. I treat neck back and other assorted musculoskeletal (knees, shoulders ankles etc..) injuries.
The first line of defense is adequate range of motion of your joints. We obtain this by…you guessed it, Stretching.
Here comes the action item of the article. You need a strategy. Before leaving the house to go play, take some time to prepare. Stretch your back, stretch your hamstrings, stretch your Achilles tendons. Develop a routine. Shoo the dog and the kids away for 10 to 15 minutes and get it done. It’s an investment in you and your ability to continue participating in this game or activity you love.
“But I don’t know what stretches to I do”, you say. They only gave me a 600 word max for this article so I don’t have space to go into sport specific stretching routines. These are available on line, from personal trainers and coaches. If you’re coming back from an injury you will want to see a chiropractor or physical therapist who are trained in post injury rehab. They should help you transition into an independent program you can do safely on your own.
Hey, saving money is not as much fun as spending it, and stretching is not as much fun as playing. I think you get the idea.
Dr. Andrew Crellin is a chiropractic physician and physical therapist with more 30 years of experience treating sports injuries. His office is located at 328 Cowesett Ave. West Warwick, R.I. and can reached at 821-6091