To Stretch or Not to Stretch
From the desk of Dr. Drew Deppen, DC... A patient of mine asked me a question that I hear ALL THE TIME -
Is stretching a good idea for me?
This is something that there is unfortunately a lot of mis-information about. There is also a lot of built in tradition of stretching for sports which add to the fire. When we see Brandon Marshall stretching on the sideline before his big game – we think if he stretches then so should we!
Long Story short – stretching is OK, but often not the answer that we are looking for.
Let me explain.
Most people stretch to eliminate tightness that they feel, or to increase their flexibility.
Over a given amount of time this should theoretically work to meet those needs – our tissues should lengthen and we should have increased range of motion. But does this always happen? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. So what’s the problem?
The problem is that people are weak. People need to first be strong.
‘Tightness’, or the feeling of muscles being tight usually happens for one of two reasons.
1) After a really tough workout where a muscle group is stressed.
2) As a protective pattern for a joint due to your bodies inability to control that joint.
This is an important concept. (As often ‘tight’ muscles are not necessarily short muscles.) When a muscle is consistently feeling tight there is a reason for this. The reason is usually because of a weakness elsewhere. When you body senses that it is having difficulty controlling and supporting a joint – it will do it’s best to add extra stability. And it does this via increasing muscle contraction – ie ‘tightness.’
For better or worse (and likely both) this can limit motion, and cause arthritis over time. You can stretch this muscle and get some minor short lived relief, and maybe a larger flexibility, if the reason for the limitation is true muscle tightness. But until you give your joint the proper ability to control itself (HINT HINT – by strengthening the weakness) you will continue to have to stretch until the next century!
Does that mean stretching is bad? No.
But, back to watching Brandon Marshall during warm up – we see that he stretches, but what we don’t see is the consistent strength work that he does behind the scenes. This is then out of our consciousness and we therefore think we need to stretch ourselves to professional athletes.
Instead focus on giving your joints proper movement and control. And it's OK if this may include some stretching.
Give OMBE a call to come in for an evaluation and then decide what you need most. We offer a variety of personal training, Pilates and yoga services.
Drew Deppen, D.C. Licensed Chiropractor
As your Boston Back Bay Chiropractor, Dr. Deppen takes pride in the diversity of his practice. He has worked with a wide variety of patients from Olympic medalists to the everyday active person, Dr. Deppen’s Boston practice uses the most current evidence-based treatment protocols. He has a deep interest in Rehabilitation strategies, Vojta Therapy or Dynamic Neuromusclar Stabilization, McKenzie Method Protocol, Active Release Technique, Strength and Conditioning, and Applied Kinesiology. Dr. Deppen is also the only Chiropractor in Boston Back Bay with McKenzie certification credentials. Additionally, Dr. Deppen is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and a USA Track and Field Certified Coach. Research has proven that both chiropractic manipulation and exercise are the gold standard for spine pain. Dr. Deppen's combination of Chiropractic, McKenzie Method, and Strength Coach experience is a powerful combination for patients.
Dr. Deppen grew up in Chicago, Illinois. As a young athlete, Dr. Deppen was fortunate enough to work with a local chiropractor for many years while in high school. From there, Drew went to Eckerd College, graduating with Honors with a degree in Biology and Chemisty. While at Eckerd, Dr. Deppen played volleyball and captained the team under Coach Dexter Rodgers, a former silver medalist.
Dr. Deppen then attended Palmer College of Chiropractic and graduated magna cum laude. Palmer is the oldest and most prestigious chiropractic school in the world. While at Palmer, Dr. Deppen developed a love for endurance sports: running, cycling, and triathlons. Since then, Dr. Deppen has completed multiple Ironman events, and every distance from a 10K through 100-mile road races.
As a way to couple Dr. Deppen’s love of running and desire to help out in the community, he started coaching and working with a local high school while in Chicago. He had the pleasure to coach high school athletes in both Cross Country and Track and Field for three years and in this time frame, helped coach and develop three NCAA Division I and four NCAA Division III athletes, as well as six Illinois All-State athletes.
During this same time, Dr. Deppen also worked with many beginner and amateur runners, both high school age and adults looking to participate in road running. Often times, Dr. Deppen’s patients have asked him to help them learn how to run or train for a marathon. Some of Dr. Deppen's most memorable moments from running lie in this arena: helping others find the love and joy of running and chiropractic to change their lives.
Dr. Deppen truly values the integrative approach offered at OMBE Integrative Health Center. He has seen how multiple disciplines together can create a unique approach to health and overall wellness. He looks forward to answering any questions you may have for him about chiropractic in a complimentary consult.