By Dr. Steve Gangemi

Continuing our 4 part SockDoc Stop Mindless Stretching series, we focus now on Flexibility, Fascia, and Your Nervous System.

Flexibility might be the ability of a joint to bend through its full range of motion, but in actuality, it’s the reflection of your nervous system and not simply the more you can stretch, and stretch and stretch some more. In essence, stretching what is tight or thought to be tight, is often treating the symptom rather than the cause. Hey – it’s the 21st Century – it’s not cool to treat symptoms! Additionally, more range of motion of a joint does not necessarily equate to a better functioning nervous system. Typically, it’s the balance of flexibility from left to right and front to back, that signifies a harmonious nervous system; in other words – symmetry (or maybe harmony is a better way to put it). For example, if you can abduct your left leg 90 degrees but your right leg goes 100 degrees, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the left leg is the problem. After performing a certain therapy or therapies you may find that the right leg is now abducting less, but equal to the left leg, yet it most likely feels less “tight”. The symmetry, as well as the tension, is more important.

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If you are under significant physical, emotional or nutritional stress, then your nervous system will respond by tightening certain muscles. That’s just how it works. It’s sort of like a protective mechanism. Maybe your whole body feels tight and you have a stretching routine to “loosen you up” every morning. In this case, there is something affecting your entire nervous system and the muscles are reacting to whatever the problem is. As an example, take the classic waking up with a stiff neck, (or a “crick” in the neck as some call it here in the south). Certainly this may be from poor sleeping arrangements, but more often than not, this problem is due to something you ate the night before. Subsequently this affects your gut and places tension on the lower part of your spine which essentially applies traction down your cervical spine. So your neck hurts. You’re not waking up with a stiff neck because that’s just how it is until you stretch it out, and it’s not stiff because you didn’t stretch before sleep. Sure, stretching might make it feel better but it’s far from addressing the problem.

Read the full article here

PART I: Move With a Purpose: Stop Mindless Stretching – Stretching for Flexibility, or Not

PART II: Move With a Purpose: Stop Mindless Stretching – Flexibility and Fascia

PART III: Move With a Purpose: Stop Mindless Stretching – Movement, Mobility, and Yoga

PART IV: Move With a Purpose: Stop Mindless Stretching – Warm-up, Cool-down, Injury Treatment, and a Bozo Prevention Strategy

Dr. Steve Gangemi
Dr. Steve Gangemi, aka SockDoc, practices holistic health care in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He uses various methods which bring together functional neurology, biochemistry, acupressure meridian therapies, applied kinesiology, dietary and lifestyle-modification methods to get a person healthy again. Gangemi has a doctorate degree in chiropractic and bachelor degree in nutrition.