Stretching vs Strengthening – Why both are important for muscle pain management

By Emma MacDonald, posted March 2021.

You may have heard the saying “tight muscles are weak muscles” and you may be thinking, but how can this be true?

A True Cause of Muscle Pain

This tightness occurs when a muscle group is not strong enough to support the task you are doing. For example, you may feel that you have very tight quads and hamstrings, which are worsened by physical activity such as running. This is because the muscles are not able to use 100% of strength that is needed to carry out the task and therefore, end up overworked, resulting in tightness.

This is essentially the same when neck pain occurs from sitting at a desk all day. The muscles of the neck keep the head and cervical spine supported, but can eventually become fatigued.

It’s natural to then assume that stretching and mobilising the area of tension will ease the muscle pain. Stretching will help with muscle flexibility, lengthening and improve range of movement, all of which will aide in the tension and tightness of the area of pain. However, this stretching may only provide temporary relief.

By working on strengthening the muscles, you are providing them with the ability to withstand the task you are asking of them. Whether this be running, weightlifting, playing sport or working at a computer each day.

Both stretching and strengthening of the muscles play an important part in muscle pain management and it is worthwhile including both in daily exercise routines.

Emma MacDonald is a registered Sports Massage Therapist and Soft Tissue Specialist.

Her specialist areas include Soft Tissue Release (STR) and Muscle Energy Technique (MET), both extremely effective techniques in helping restore normality to tight and restricted muscle tissue, in turn increasing range of motion and a reduction in pain.

Book to see her here at Back To Health Wellness in Guildford.

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