Did you participate in the Gobble-Wobble 5k, either walking or running? Maybe you did a few hamstring stretches while getting ready to put in those five miles — or maybe not. So, while we might have been working on stretching our stomachs with turkey, other more beneficial stretching is often left out of our exercise routines — but the benefits of stretching have big payoffs.
Research has shown that stretching can help improve flexibility and, as a result, the range of motion of your joints. Better flexibility may:
- Decrease your risk of injuries
- Help your joints move through their full range of motion
- Increase muscle blood flow
- Enable your muscles to work more effectively
- Improve your ability to do daily activities
- Improve sports activity performance
If you are suffering from pain during movement, the Medical Center’s Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine department offers the technique of dry needling. The certified and trained physical therapist inserts a “dry” needle, one without medication or injection, into areas of the muscle.
Dry needling, while it may seem a distant cousin to acupuncture, is a part of modern Western medicine and is supported by research.
Medical Center Therapist Miguel Gonzalez says, “This technique is used to treat pain and movement impairments by targeting trigger points. A trigger point is a taut band of skeletal muscle within a larger muscle group. Trigger points can be tender to the touch, and touching a trigger point may refer pain to other parts of the body.”