Let me introduce you to my sweet little daughter, Jade.
Yep, she’s a a little angel, and she’s the best.
Over the last few months Jade has been learning to eat, sit up and grab and play with toys. In essence, she’s become easier to feed, distract, and entertain.
We’ve had a few experiences now when Jade has become obviously tired, but we’re out and about or need to do something, so we have to push Jade through her fatigue.
She doesn’t sleep outside of a crib, and refuses to sleep in the car, so we just have to help her through her fatigue until we can get home.
We feed her, distract her, and entertain her somehow until she seems to make it to a “second wind” and returns to her happy, incredibly cute self. Sometimes when life is really crazy, we even have to push her through to a third wind.
I know, yikes.
Each time we push her past a new level of fatigue, her energetic, happy time becomes drastically shorter and shorter. The second and third “winds” are quite fragile and short-lived.
What’s worse is the more we push her to stay awake, the more terrible her crash becomes later when her renewed happy window comes to a close.
It’s about as sad as anything I’ve ever witnessed, and she’s pretty miserable until we can finally get her in the crib to sleep.
To summarize what we’re doing…
Jade shows us distinct signs when she’s tired, from getting a little fussy to rubbing her eyes, and you can just see it in her face. From those signs we diagnose the problem and provide the solution: she’s tired (diagnosis) and she needs sleep (solution).
When we can’t provide her with sleep that moment, we use other tools that don’t solve the problem but rather just delay the onset of the symptoms of the problem.
We’re just kicking the problem down the road. The problem obviously isn’t solved, and we’re going to need to provide a real solution to the real problem unless we want the problem to continue inevitably.
How does this relate to stretching?
Trying to stretch away your pain is exactly like me distracting Jade past her fatigue.
The problem causing your pain is rarely ever that your muscles are physically too short.
If you’re a remotely active individual, meaning you get up and walk even just a little every day, then the source of your pain is definitely NOT that your muscles are physically too short.
Stretching where you have pain will create a stretch reflex that temporarily inhibits the pain you’re experiencing. This can last as short as 10 minutes or maybe even as long as a few hours.
No matter how long this pain relief occurs, it isn’t solving any real problems and certainly won’t cure your pain.
Typically, we see that stretching actually triggers pain. Remember how Jade crashes worse later the more we push her past her fatigue?
You may stretch and feel relief and think it’s working, but for some reason, you can’t permanently resolve the pain. What gives, right?
Stretching is actually part of the problem and you’re just kicking your pain down the road a few minutes or hours every time you stretch.
So why does the whole world tell me to stretch?
Compared to diagnosing and really solving the problem of pain, stretching is very easy.
Anyone can look up videos on how to stretch every region of your body. It only takes seconds to demonstrate and a little longer to do the actual stretch yourself. It’s easy.
People may also start stretching their pain because that’s what they feel like their body is asking for, and they experience that addicting stretch reflex we talked about earlier.
These “feelings” confuse us into thinking that stretching will solve our pain.
But can you really always trust what you perceive your body needs?
Think of your own experience or the experiences that kids have with sweets. We crave them at times, but does that mean it’s what our body actually needs to stay healthy? Obviously not.
We throw down the sugary, fatty goodness, feel good for a few short minutes, and then feel blah later and can suffer several different consequences from our poor choices of consumption.
That’s not far from what happens with stretching! Even when you just “feel” like you need to stretch away that pain, it doesn’t mean that’s what is actually best for your health.
So what do I need to resolve my pain?
You need what Jade needs. She needs us, her parents, who know the signs and symptoms of her problem, to diagnose her real problem and help her through the real solution.
You need the same thing.
If pain is limiting your life and your favorite activities, you need a real diagnosis to determine what is causing your pain, and you need help piecing together a real solution to resolve that problem.
Stop trying to stretch away your pain!
Lucky for you, we’ve dedicated our lives to being expert diagnosticians, finding and solving the real problem causing your pain.
Keep reading our articles and watching our videos for help. If you need additional help, reach out to us so we can quickly help you get back to pain-free.