How Flexible Do I Need to Be to Stay Out of Pain? Part 2

So I was talking to one of my patients recently, and the topic of how flexible she needed to be came up. And  the conversation reminded me that a lot of people misunderstand the concept, and the importance of being flexible. So wanted to talk about it a bit.

So her question was – how flexible do I need to be?  This is a continuation of last week’s blog – click here to see the first part.

So let’s reveiw  some important terms.

Flexibility is defined as the range of motion of your joints or the ability of your joints to move freely. It also refers to the mobility of your muscles,  and being  able to readily bend or twist  the body without injury.

Range of motion is the distance and direction your joints can move.

Mobility is the ability to move without restriction.

Stability is defined as the ability that the body regains balance at the moment of giving any perturbation.

Is Flexibility All That I Need to Stay Healthy?

There are many factors involved in keeping you at your best. There is a lot of talk about flexibility, but what we often don’t talk about is the relationship between flexibility and stability. Take a look at the definition of flexibility again…

Flexibility is defined as the range of motion of your joints or the ability of your joints to move freely. It also refers to the mobility of your muscles,  and being  able to readily bend or twist  the body without injury.

Yes: your body has to be able to bend and move without being injured. That’s where the stability part comes in. So…..what is Stability?

Stability  vs  Flexibility

Stability is defined as the ability that the body regains balance at the moment of giving any perturbation.

This means that  stability is used to keep the optimum equilibrium with movement  – like a counter control to extremes of motion than can be harmful.

When flexibiilty exceeds stability – the usual result is a lack of stability. This can make everyday movement challenging – as the usual mechanism to preserve the body from injury is compromised.

On the other hand, when stability exceeds flexibility – the usual result is a lack of mobility. Sounds good if you lay in bed all day, but in order to function, we as humans move – everyday, every minute. So no mobility  isn’t great either.

So general rule  – Flexibility should equal stability.  When one exceeds the other,  injury or immobility usually results. On either end, compensations, pain and injury can develop.

So here are some important questions for you…

Are You Very Flexible?

If you’re more flexible than the average person, you may wonder if you need to keep stretching in order to stay healthy. The general answer to that is yes- you do.

You need to usually maintain your baseline flexibility  and how much work you have to put in to maintain that depends on your activity level and other contributing factors. Also, if you are very flexible, stretching is probably something that you’re very good at. If you still feel tight you probably have an issue that needs more help that regular stretching.

The better question though – is your flexibility a factor in your pain? There are many issues that a change in your flexibility will help, but also many conditions that it will not. To find out the difference, contact us below for a FREE diagnosis and understanding of what will help you.

Are You Very Stiff?

If you are stiffer than the average person, stretching may be painful and difficult for you to do. Once you get too stiff, there are some conditions that get worse due to your joints not having the optimum range of motion they need in order to move well.

For you, getting the right amount of flexibility can be difficult to get on your own. There are tools that can  be used to help, but sometimes to have a lasting improvement in flexibility that will allow your joints to move well, will need some additional help.  If you need help, fill out the form below to get a FREE consult how we can help you.

So the takeaway here:  The answer to your best you is a balance between your flexibility and stability.  If you’re not a gymnast or dancer, don’t go for bending yourself in half – you don’t need it! And if you do need your flexibility like gymnasts or dancers – make sure to strengthen so that you have the stability you need to move without injury.

Interested in finding out what you need to get rid of your injuries? Click below to request a free discovery visit to get started.

Click Here to Request a FREE Telephone Consultation »
Danelle Dickson PT, DPT, OCS

Danelle Dickson PT, DPT, OCS

Physical Therapist at Performance Plus Physical Therapy
Danelle Dickson received her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Morgan State University in 2003, then her Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Delaware in 2007. After graduating, she earned her  Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist Certification in 2012. She is continually increasing her knowledge base with post graduate continuing education from manual based courses such as Institute of Physical Arts and St. Augustine courses. Additionally, she has also presented research at local (APTA) and international (IADMS) conferences on dancers, and has published her research with Journal of Dance Medicine and Science.

Danelle combines her 10+ year of clinical, research, and administrative experience  to produce a well rounded, patient driven experience at Performance Plus Physical Therapy. She currently works with patients with orthopedic, sports and Performing arts conditions, along with taking care of the local dance population, and mentoring local physical therapy students as a clinical instructor.
Danelle Dickson PT, DPT, OCS

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