More Stretching by Stan Wasbin, M.D.
Rack your brains for a moment, and see if you can identify the author of this quote: “I am not that pregnant.” And, while we are on the topic, consider the advice one sarcastic physician imparted to a middle-aged couple. When asked what the most effective form of contraception is for those over 40 years of age, the doctor responded with a terse answer: “Nudity.”
Consider further that — with just one exception– all skeletal muscles contain stretch receptors. These are specialized sensors that fire when a muscle is stretched, sending a signal to the spinal cord, which in turn sends a signal back to the same muscle, forcing it to contract. You see this process in action when the doctor taps on your knee with a reflex hammer.
Do you wonder why our skeletal muscles are made to resist stretching — even the smallest of stretches elicited by a light tap? Think about what happens to our anti-gravity muscles when we jump from the hood of a police car to the ground. At the instant our feet touch down, the impact causes these muscles to stretch, leading to the extremely fast, single-synapse reflex that results in the contraction of these muscles. This opposes the pull of gravity, preventing us from collapsing in a heap.
Since our skeletal muscles were made to contract — not stretch– then why is it even beneficial for us to engage in stretching? To discover the answer to this and other questions raised by this article, come to a STRETCH WITH YOUR DOCTOR class held every Thursday 10:00-11:00 AM at Marque Urgent Care in Aliso Viejo.The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.