Massage, Stretch, Strengthen: Fixing Those Pains

If you have poor body alignment and weak or tight muscles, you likely have pains you deal with daily. You might not be aware which muscles are the problem or how you may be out of alignment, but a physical therapist or personal trainer can help pinpoint the problem and provide the solution.

There are three basic components of corrective exercise, the values of which were established and recognized centuries ago: massage, stretching and strengthening.

  1. Massage is of utmost importance for helping restore soft tissue to a healthy state.
  2. Stretching facilitates range of movement and alignment.
  3. Coordinated strengthening exercises help reteach movement cues between the brain, the nervous system and the rest of the body.

For example, if a physical therapist diagnoses plantar fasciitis, it may be because you overpronate–your feet rotate/collapse inward. This will place stress on your heel and the tendons and muscles of the calf.

The first step is to rejuvenate the damaged tissue on the underside of the foot by massaging it with a golf ball or similar massage tool. These massage techniques would be followed by stretching the calf. Then you need to strengthen the arch of the foot and front of the calf to prevent the foot from collapsing. Eventually, you’ll need to add coordinated weight-bearing exercises to address the entire leg in order to keep aligned from the hips down to the feet.

(Adapted from IDEA Health & Fitness)

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