I recently had a patient ask me if it was possible to be "too flexible." The short answer to that is “not really.” You see, our bodies are designed to move (it’s the whole reason we have the bones and muscles which make up most of our bodies!!), and so by consequence, flexibility is absolutely necessary for movement to happen. Without the ability to use our joints to their full potential, we can develop pain and discomfort.
Additionally, it’s important to know that the joints in our body—especially the discs in your spine—depend upon movement to stay healthy. You see, our joints don’t have a very good blood supply, so they depend upon movement to get the nutrients they need to stay healthy. Those nutrients not only help joints stay healthy but heal from damage as well. This still hasn't answered my question from above, though. Can you be "too flexible?
To begin to answer that question, it’s important to first address some consequences of “too little” flexibility. When joints can’t move or their movement becomes restricted, it can do two different things:
- Puts extra stress on surrounding muscles and joints and
- Result in chronic inflammation.
If left alone, this stress and inflammation will end up causing pain and doing more damage to surrounding tissues, speeding up the degeneration process we’ve talked about before.
I mentioned before that you ‘can’t really’ be too flexible. That’s because most times when flexibility becomes a problem, it is because the muscles around the joints don’t have sufficient strength to support them. When muscles can't support a joint like they are supposed to, it creates something called instability. This may lead to joints moving in ways they aren't supposed to. Think of it like a washing machine when too many clothes are on one side during a spin cycle. As it spins faster and faster, it will bump around more and more, and if left alone, could break down! When we have this 'break-down' in one of our joints, we call this dislocation.
If you've ever dislocated a shoulder, you know what I'm talking about. Not because of the dislocation itself, but the unease that comes afterward, constantly feeling and/or worrying that it could happen again. That feeling like it could fall back out again easier than the last time. So what is the most common way to fix this problem? You guessed it! strengthening your shoulder muscles! As long as you’ve got that strength, being “too flexible” isn’t really going to be a problem. That’s what makes stretching, exercise, and chiropractic such a great combination.
Stretching will keep our joints flexible. Exercise keeps our muscles strong to support those joints. Chiropractic restores proper motion to restricted joints.
This combination is something we value strongly at Better Chiropractic, your Premier Gilbert Chiropractic Clinic. We also incorporate soft tissue therapies and instruction to support you and make sure you’re Feeling, Living, and Performing at your best. So if you’re in pain or just want to increase your flexibility, come on in and let us have a look at you. We’re confident we can get you moving like you want.