Stretching: why it can be a waste of time - and what does work.

Being in pain affects everything you do. And it's miserable.

So you've probably tried lots of thing to help - like stretching.

Stretching is often prescribed for back pain, but did you know that you might be wasting your time?

What's wrong with stretching?

There's nothing wrong with it. But stretching only affects the muscle. And for a lot of people that's just not doing the job of relieving pain. Here's why:

It's not your muscles that are causing the tightness - therefore stretching your muscles is not going to solve the tightness. We need to look for another culprit - and it's one that few people have heard of...

Myofascial Tissue

Myofascial tissue is a type of connective tissue that surrounds and sheaths muscles, and is part of your internal connective structure. These tissues can become tight, damaged or scarred, just as the muscles themselves, both potentially restricting movement. Thus these tissues may be the cause of your pain or stiffness, preventing the muscle from stretching properly.

Illustration of muscle structure.
Illustration of muscle structure.

If myofascial tissues are chronically tight, or injury scarred, then no amount of stretching is going to make sufficient difference to relieve your pain.

And exercises may not even be addressing the right area: chronic tension builds up in focal points in the muscle tissue (so called “trigger points”). These typically lead to “referred pain” i.e. pain in other areas of the body from where the original problem occurred.

Hence, you may find that your sore back, frozen shoulder or stiff neck is not getting any better despite exercises, stretching or massage.

How Does This "Myafascia Tissue" Become Damaged?

Injuries, poor posture, or repetitive activities can result in your body getting into a habit of using – or overusing - muscles and other connective tissues in ways they weren’t designed for.

(For example, sitting slumped at a PC and using a mouse for hours on end is not something your body was designed to do!)

Then there are all the other things that happen to your body - accidents, child-birth, sudden full-scale exercise regimes, even chronic stress.

For many back pain is a constant issue in their lives. (In fact a 2014 study found that back-pain was a major cause of disability worldwide.)

However, by specifically releasing both your myofascial tissue, and your trigger points, chronic, persistent or injury-related pain CAN be addressed and relieved.

How Do I Do That?

The Douglas Method incorporates techniques to address these two areas:

  • A form of deep tissue massage (Trigger Point Therapy) that uses slow, precise pressure to find and clear your trigger points. It aims to deactivate these points, release their associated bands of tension, clear the build up of stress and toxins in the muscle, and restore the fibres to normal relaxed length.
  • Myofascial Release manipulates the soft tissue with gentle sustained pressure helping to “unstick” the muscles and their surrounding tissues. This gradual approach releases the adhesions in the connective tissues, allowing the muscles to work as they should, i.e. contracting and lengthening appropriately. (NOW stretches will be more effective!)

Thus pain is reduced, and ease, movement and function are restored. You feel better and can get on with your life again.

Oops - there's life again, providing all of the things that led to your back pain in the first place.

So you need more...

By integrating these remedial techniques with personalised exercises and a variety of other interventions, The Douglas Method brings you a comprehensive solution not just for relieving your back pain today, but for keeping you fit, strong and flexible into the future.

Because life happens.

Find out more about how the Douglas Method works here...

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