What am I feeling? Tissue vs Nerve stretching
Something that a lot of the general population does not know, is that our nerves can stretch. Yep, you read that right! Your nerves can move within your tissues just as a muscle does (although they don't contract!).
Have you ever felt a sharp, straight line of pain that runs up or down a body part while doing your warm up stretches or when you've just gotten out of bed? This could be a nerve!
Most commonly we see clients who have felt this in their arms and down the back of their legs. Usually when performing a hamstring stretch or neck stretch, you feel a sharp, long line of 'pain' that can easily be mistaken for just a good ole muscle stretch. This is your sign to STOP and STEP BACK.
Don't go any further! Your nerves aren't meant to be stretched to the point of pain. This can damage the nerve fibres and create nasty injuries that are a pain to deal with (pun intended)
This doesn't mean you have to stop stretching completely! Simply take the stretch down a notch so you aren't feeling that long line of pain, and instead are actually stretching the muscle tissue like intended.
This simple adjustment can save you from many unintended injuries down the line, and create a more healthy environment for your tissues and nerves to work together. Yes, you still want to 'floss' the nerve (yes, it's exactly how it sounds), but we aren't stretching it. Flossing the nerve simply means to go in and out of the nerve stretch (the feeling juuuuust before you feel 'pain') in order to gently wake up the nerve.
So the next time you hop out of bed and want to touch your toes immediately -- think of your nerves! Slow and easy is best.