2.9 min readPublished On: June 25, 2024

When Stress Creeps Up On You, Stretching Can Help

Over the past few weeks, I’ve felt like I was either in a Sumo wrestling tournament or fell off of a Vespa at full speed. My muscles are tight, all my joints ache and getting out of bed is even a challenge. Thing is, unless all of this happened in my sleep, I’ve just been engaging in “life.”

For most of us, getting through life these days can be stressful, but we tell ourselves to get used to it and move-on. I’m a pretty happy person, but with two jobs and caring for a parent, trying to stay positive could contribute to hiding stresses that manifest into pain.

According to Kaiser Permanente, stress can cause your muscles to tense up — and over time, that can lead to pain and soreness almost anywhere in the body. Many times, you’ll feel stress-related aches and pains in your neck, back, and shoulders.

One way to alleviate the tightness in your muscles is to stretch, which is often an ignored piece of the wellness puzzle.

To get some insight and a proper stretch, I went to Stretch Zone in Pinellas Plaza, and scheduled a session with practitioner Geana Redman.

“Practitioner assisted stretching is better than stretching on your own,” Geana says.  “This method helps target areas and ensures you are getting the proper range of motion that your body needs.”

According to stretch experts, stretching is the one thing we most forget to do and it can cause all kinds of maladies. If you are tight it causes pain, insomnia and injury, especially if you try and exercise without stretching.

“This is also a wonderful way to improve joint health and flexibility,” Geana says.

Having someone there also assists in when and where to stop if it gets too painful and keeps you balanced to avoid rolling too far.

After I signed the waiver and completed the medical intake (series of questions) we tested my range of motion, which was surprisingly not so bad.

We next covered my pain scale 3-5-7, which simply meant that she pushed until it hurt and I could hold the stretch for those amounts of seconds.

“As you walk and move around during the day your body is trying to compensate for the lack of range of motion,” Geana says. Even though mine wasn’t that bad, I did have a hip to hamstring imbalance which has caused my body to fight for equilibrium front to back.

Also, according to Geana, having really tight hamstrings can affect your gait, so taking long strides while you’re walking is beneficial and a product of healthy stretching.

The brain also has a profound effect on your muscles and ligaments.

“As you stretch, your brain locks your muscle as a defensive mechanism,” says Geana. “So, you should listen to your brain by not pushing it and always be mindful because it makes stretching more fluid.”

Stretching can also improve posture, decrease sciatica pain, increase mobility and help you feel younger and more energized through better range of motion. It also helps decrease muscle pain and joint stiffness while enhancing sports performance with prehab and rehab.

Geana recommended that I come in twice weekly until my range of motion improves and I can stretch without pain. Every person is different, so I suggest getting the initial consultation and complimentary stretch to see what is right for you.


About the Author: Gina Horan

Gina Horan
Gina moved to central Florida in August of 2021 from the San Francisco Bay Area. She has a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and spent 10 years as a fashion editor, columnist and food writer for The Knight Ridder Newspaper group. She was also a photo stylist and covered concerts, fashion shows and festivals all over Northern California. In 2000, she joined KSAN radio as a morning show co-host and produced the news and sports content there for 4 years. She also covered travel, events and the restaurant scene for KRON-Bay TV. She is a veteran bartender and has worked in hospitality on and off since high school. Her passions include travel, road trips, history books, baseball, tasting menus and most of all, landing in a new city with no map or guidebook. Gina lives in Oxford with her mom, cats and baby hamster.

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