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Don't Forget To Stretch!

hamstring stretchMost of us often associate a slipped disc or a pinched nerve with someone in an older age bracket. Speaking from first-hand experience, I’ve seen plenty of young adults in the gym lifting heavy weights without stretching. And, while your body is still taking damage and unnecessary wear and tear, you may indeed feel it at a later age.

Look, I know stretching and warming up isn’t the most glamorous part of a workout. Nonetheless, it’s on par as one of the most important stages of any sort of physical activity. This includes sports, lifting weights, running, and also things such as lifting furniture, mowing the lawns, and beyond.

As a family chiropractic, we see people of all ages come in due to injuries that could have been avoided. The best advice a chiropractor can give for minimising the chance of injury during physical activity is to stretch beforehand.

That is why this article will delve into the benefits of stretching before undertaking any sort of physical activity. Those include instant benefits like improved performance, a decreased risk of injury, and increased blood flow. Moreover, there are also longer-term benefits such as improving joint longevity and health. Typically, some of the things that a doctor of chiropractic would assess before any chiropractic treatment.

Improved Performance

Through an increased range of motion and flexibility, you are able to perform better in any physical undertaking. Those are some of the benefits of regular stretching which can have a lasting impact on your overall health.

Not only will you benefit from performing regular activities with relative ease, but it will also help delay the reduced mobility that comes with aging. Therefore, stretching is the main action you can take from the comfort of your own home to improve physical performance.

It must be noted that stretching alone does not maximise your performance levels during physical activity. A healthy diet, a good sleep pattern, going to the gym, chiropractic therapy, sports, are all ways to improve performance.

You must also know when to exercise caution when it comes to stretching. If stretching is causing pain rather than tension, you are extending too far. Stretching over a regular period is known to increase flexibility and range of motion incrementally. You can’t expect a full range of motion during your first stretch in a while. Much like you can’t expect to be feeling in top shape after your first spine adjustment for example. These things take time, and consistency is what will help you unlock your best-performing self.

Decrease Risk Of Injury

The important point to make once more is that stretching is not only necessary before exercise or sport. Any physical activity that requires considerable effort should include a stretch and warm-up beforehand. Particularly, the muscle group that will be the most engaged should be stretched out first. As an ACC chiropractor, we also see many instances where physical work injuries occur due to lack of stretching beforehand.

The reason why stretching is important relates to how the muscle reacts to strenuous activity. If a muscle is tight and shortened, strenuous activity is much more likely to lead to damage from sudden expansion. If the muscle is long, lean, and flexible, the exertion won’t put too much force on the muscle itself. Anything from playing tennis to running or moving a couch can lead to injury if the muscles are tight.

Seeing a chiro before an upcoming event that you know requires strenuous activity can help understand your current vulnerabilities. Your musculoskeletal system is at the most risk during high-intensity exercise and a top chiropractor will create a plan to minimise those risks. If you are in Auckland, visit our chiropractor South Auckland clinic for an initial consultation to assess any vulnerabilities.

Increase Muscle Blood Flow

A 2013 study has found stretching exercises on a regular basis can improve blood circulation. Improved circulation increases blood flow to your muscles and shortens recovery time and reduces muscle soreness.

Poor circulation can also lead to extreme neck pain and severe headaches. Therefore, increased blood flow will help get more oxygen into the brain and relieve some of the tension causing pain.

Moreover, oxygen carried through the muscles is used to break down glucose, which creates fuel for your muscles. Essentially maximising your energy source to keep you at peak performance for longer periods of time.

Most alternative medicine practices such as natural chiropractic, blood flow, and reduced tension are at the forefront of focus. A chiropractor X ray can sometimes help pinpoint any interferences in the musculoskeletal system that is impeding circulation. Using appropriate techniques and full body chiropractic adjustment can help alleviate that tension and improve circulation.

Joint Longevity

According to Harvard Medical School, stretching is something we should all have as part of our daily routine. That’s because it helps keep our muscles flexible and maintain a healthy range of motion. Without it, our muscles can become stiff and contract. That is what puts you at higher risk of joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.

During impact and physical activity, if your muscles aren’t pulling their weight, there will be added stress on the joints. While chiropractic care will aim to counteract this, there’s nothing more effective than picking up good habits. Of course, regular stretching is one of those things. Others would be warming up with a light jog or walk before intense physical activity, and maintaining good posture habits. The earlier you get into good habits, the less trouble you are likely to have with joint pain long-term. However, it’s never too late, and natural chiropractic can help get you there.

Many people who are seeking a chiropractor for hip pain or a chiropractor for shoulder pain for example will benefit from regular stretching. While that’s covered with chiropractic adjustment to a certain extent, you should be making stretching a part of your routine. In combination, you can also consult with a physical therapist or osteopath to help bring you back in top shape.


As discussed, stretching consistently for a minimum of 4-5 times a week is key to the benefits we have discussed. Sporadic stretching won’t lead to the long-term improvements you are seeking.

Specifically, stretching may help improve physical performance and decrease your risk of injury. Furthermore, it has also been linked to increased blood flow and joint longevity due to reduced pressure. Typically, the patients we see for the first time at our chiropractic practice are also seeking knowledge of what they should be doing to avoid injury and reduce pain. Stretching is always part of that conversation at our chiropractic office due to its benefits and also accessibility. Anyone can partake in the comfort of their own home without any fancy equipment.

It is also worth noting that stretching on its own is not a magic solution to your physical well-being. A balanced approach must be considered in order to see significant improvements to your overall health. That may include things such as doing physical forms of exercise that you enjoy, chiropractic services, good sleep, and nutrition.

If you want to know more about the techniques of stretching, feel free to visit our Auckland chiropractic centre. We predominantly cater to those searching for a Clevedon chiropractor, a chiropractor Manukau based, and surrounding regions.