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More Harm Than Good

Education | | Dr. Dann

Of course, we all love to troubleshoot our own pain... But we could be doing more harm than good.

Yes, oftentimes we can alleviate some tightness with a better warm-up and cool-down routine! Adding a gentle stretching routine is great for keeping our bodies awake, limber, and ready for the day! But did you know you can actually cause harm by overstretching or "massaging" out pain with one of those massage gun tools?

What starts as a self-care routine can turn into injury if we aren't careful. Here are a few things to consider as you stretch, foam roll, or message gun your way out of pain.

  • Muscle Strain: Overstretching or using massage guns excessively can strain the muscles beyond their natural limits, leading to micro-tears in the muscle fibers. This can exacerbate the initial pain and delay the healing process. This is especially true if the pain is near the spine, if you have an aggravated disc that you aren’t aware of you can create much more harm by agitating it with a massage gun!
  • Tissue Inflammation: Aggressive stretching or deep tissue massage with massage guns can cause inflammation in the muscles and surrounding tissues. This inflammation can worsen the pain and discomfort, making it harder for the body to recover.
  • Nerve Irritation: Overstretching or applying excessive pressure with massage guns or aggressive foam rolling, can irritate the nerves that run through the muscles. This can result in increased pain, tingling, or numbness, and in severe cases, it may lead to nerve damage.
  • Reduced Muscle Elasticity: While stretching can improve flexibility when done correctly and in moderation, excessive stretching can actually reduce muscle elasticity over time. This can make the muscles more prone to injury and decrease overall mobility and performance. Similarly, excessive use of massage guns can lead to muscle fatigue and decreased flexibility if not used appropriately

Being proactive in one's pain management is a necessary action step for someone who is living an active lifestyle! However, often times we are only presented with the pros of stretching, massaging, and foam-rolling our pain away. Many people don't realize that there can be a downside to too much stretching or massaging! Sometimes the "tight muscle" isn't a "tight muscle" at all, and trying to take care of it on your own can actually cause more harm.

If you are dealing with pain that is...
A: not going away with stretching, foam rolling, or massage gunning... or
B: getting worse even after trying everything...

You may be dealing with more than “tightness” that can be remedied on your own. Take inventory of what your body is telling you, and seek the medical care your body needs to make a quicker, safer, long-lasting recovery.


Dr. Dann is a chiropractor serving Milwaukie, Happy Valley, Clackamas, and Oregon City.
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