What do you when your stretching starts to hurt

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12:00 PM

Stretching is not supposed to feel like a workout. It should not hurt or cause discomfort. When stretching starts to hurt your muscles, your body may be trying to tell you something. Maybe you have triggered an old injury or stretched incorrectly.


A pulled muscle causes injury to an existing muscle which is usually because of an overly strenuous workout. You may also overstretch some tissue in minor cases or cause a rupture in your body in more serious cases.


Why Stretching May Hurt

If you feel a sharp pain in your body, whether your arm, leg, back or neck, that came about after you stretched, it may mark the beginning of an injury. Here is what may have gone wrong:


1.    You Didn’t Warm Up

To be flexible, you need to start by stretching. A common misconception is that before heavy workouts, you should stretch. However, you need to warm up before you stretch. This means doing some light exercises, such as jumping jacks or high knees so that the blood starts to flow into the unused muscles. This lowers the chances of injury.

You can also stretch your muscles at the end of your workout. This will feel great and is beneficial for your body as well as your muscles have already been warmed up.


2.    You Continue Stretching till You Feel Pain

Many people buy into the phrase, “no pain, no gain.” However, this is not true at all. Consistent effort and determination are what ensures that you are successful in life. This also applies to stretching.

When stretching starts to hurt, you are actually making yourself vulnerable to an injury. According to the American Council on Exercise, you should stretch till you feel the tension in your muscles. However, if you feel the slightest bit of pain, regain your normal posture.


3.    You Bounce While Stretching

You’ll see loads of trainers who encourage bouncing while stretching your muscles. They keep urging you, sometimes putting their own body weight on you, to make you stretch more. However, this is completely wrong. Over the years, research has shown us that bouncing while stretching is counterproductive and increases the chances of muscle strain.


Instead, get into your stretching position and stay there for 10 to 30 seconds. Focus on your breathing. Continue the same stretch at least three to five times.


What to Do if You Hurt Yourself while Stretching

If you feel like you have strained your muscle while stretching, it is best to use an icepack on the muscle immediately so that the swelling can go down. This should be done every hour for 15 minutes on the first day of the injury. Over the next two days, do this every three to four hours. After three days, if you still feel pain, you can use heat or ice on the injury.


Moreover, make sure to rest the injured muscle for a day. When stretching starts to hurt, that is your body telling you not to stretch more and to reduce the intensity of your stretching. Give your muscles and body time to heal before jumping back into your regular workouts. If the pain continues, consult a doctor.