Many areas of life have a Central Debate
with parties on opposing sides arguing their points ... politics
is an obvious example ... religion
... diet & nutrition
... etc.But you might NOT know that Muscle Health, Fitness, Sports Physiology, and the entire field of Physical Medicine has such a central debate, that is ...If you had a choice, would you rather have your muscles be LONG or STRONG?"FLEXIBILITY" vs. "FLEXING" ABILITYWhich muscle performs better, suffers less pain and dysfunction, and has better health, a muscle with Full Length, Flexibility and Range of Motion or a muscle with maximum Strength, Power and Force?
You can spend considerable time, literally hours per day if you choose, either stretching
your muscles or both... Is one more important? Should we be focusing on either one or both?
We've all seen bodybuilders
with enormous, strong
muscles that are so pronounced just looking at them with their shirts off is like an anatomy class in itself!
Of course, it has occurred to more than a few of us that it might be hard to do some normal daily activities with muscles that big, such as turning around to put a seat belt on, scratch a back itch, and a few other more personal items...
Likewise, we've come some across incredible acrobats
and yoga masters
who seem to defy the laws of physics with their flexibility
. Many of us wonder it they had to practice stretching 12 hours a day to get that flexible or were just born that way.However, these extreme examples are not what we are mainly addressing in this issue
, though they certainly still apply to these eccentric individuals, as well!
Our intention with this series of musculoskeletal updates
is to address and empower the common man and woman
who deals with a strange modern lifestyle comprised of olympic amounts of sitting and other abnormally contracted postures
and suffers a great majority of pain referred from their very own muscles!So, the question we address here is... For the average man and woman, who wishes to live a life free of pain and use their muscles and joints as much and as long as they would like to without suffering pain and degeneration, what should they be focusing on when spending their precious time working on their own physical bodies ... Strength or Flexibility?
Believe it or not, for as far advanced as the medical profession has come, the answer to this question, which was discovered HALF A CENTURY AGO by the 1st ever female physician in the White House,
has somehow escaped the attention it deserves... and the attention we deserve!
Perhaps the medical school curriculum was already too full? Perhaps doctors simply didn't have the time to master a whole new all-natural form of pain treatment modality? Or perhaps the popular demand for a pill to swallow instead of self-care instructions was too high at that time for this incredibly effective modality to emerge into the spotlight where it belongs?
Whatever the reason, we now know through president JFK's
personal physician, Dr. Janet Travell's
and Dr. Simons'
work, the answer to Physical Medicine's central debate is clear:"Full Range of Motion" (beyond just flexibility) is the most important aspect determining the health of a muscle and relief of pain symptoms in the majority of patients.
So, in this issue, we offer for your understanding, a brief explanation (it's not a matter of just doing stretches) of this important fact of how our muscles work and the key to avoiding an enormous amount of unnecessary pain and suffering and dysfunction throughout any age of our lives.
*The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and does not substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional. Please consult your physician to determine whether these self-care tips are appropriate for you.