There are a variety of different stretching techniques that a physiotherapist may choose to use to treat your condition and help you regain normal movement. The main types of these include:
This is done by the physiotherapist or a device such as a Continuous Passive Machine that can be pre-set to provide continuous passive motion throughout the joint. Passive stretch increases range-of-motion (ROM) when stretching is not contraindicated.
This serves the same purpose as passive stretch, but is done by the individual.
Popularly called PNF stretching, this type uses movement patterns and posture to initiate voluntary movement, speed of response and strength in weak muscles. It is a combination of passive stretching and holding and is believed to be more effective than a passive stretch. There are many variations of PNF.
This type of stretch is done while the body is at rest. The muscles are made to lengthen to the point of discomfort, then the position is held for a few seconds. This is said to reduce tension and relax the muscles.
Dynamic stretching uses momentum to propel the muscles into an elongated state. Used by athletes and dancers to develop speed, power and coordination.
The muscle contracts (shortens) and elongates at the same time to provide flexibility. This may be combined with strength training.
To gain benefits from stretching:
- Do not overstretch or stretch to the point of pain.
- Stretch when muscles are warm, after exercise, as this has been proven to be more beneficial than pre-exercise stretching.
- A low-resistance, sustained stretch is preferred to a high-resistance stretch with quick, bouncing movements.
- Use of some form of heat beforehand may enhance stretching.
Exercise and stretching hold many benefits for individuals in rehabilitation, as well as individuals who are only interested in improving overall health and well-being. Physiotherapy can help by providing the tools for individuals to reap the greatest benefits from this activity. We will be happy to discuss these in detail with you.