Stretching is generally a good thing and many of us could use to do a lot more of it.
However, there are cases where it may be doing you more harm than good, or at least never addressing the actual problem.
Do you constantly seem to be stretching your hamstrings, quads, or maybe your shoulders?
Do you throw your foot up on an object and stretch some tension out of those hammies almost without thinking about it?
Do you find yourself grabbing your foot behind you to stretch your quad while standing in line at the store?
Maybe you love to clasp your hands behind your back and and lift up as high as you can to relieve a little tension in your chest & shoulders.
In the above instances, the person will often say something like “My hammies always feel so tight” – even though they will usually show good to great range-of-motion when they do their stretch.
In a case like this, it’s often an instance of the body’s nervous system keeping the muscles chronically contracted (tight) in an effort to create stability in a nearby joint.
The joint is unstable or hypermobile, so this is your body’s way of trying to create stability in the joint.
Chronically stretching it removes this protection and does nothing to improve the situation. Furthermore, your nervous system is going to tighten the muscle right back up to protect you anyway!
The first thing you want to rule out is congenital Hypermobility Syndrome. Take the Beighton test for hypermobility – it’s quick and easy.
Hypermobile folks usually will carry a lot of muscular tension even though they are very flexible. If this isn’t the case for you, then it’s a matter of finding out where the instability is and then strengthening that area. We can often help identify and correct this instability.