Stretching and Soreness


Since I started off the week with a myth-busting blog entry, I figured I’d keep things rolling on that note. This time I want to address the myth of stretching alleviating muscle soreness. Like the lactic acid myth I addressed previously, this one is a long held belief that I believe is likely rooted in the misunderstanding of what causes soreness. While not fully understood, muscle soreness is largely considered to be the result of a breakdown in the muscle architecture and resulting inflammation. Stretching has no direct impact on assisting the recovery of the muscle damage. In fact, overly aggressive stretching routines can actually CAUSE soreness because of its effect on the myosin and actin filaments. So while stretching may provide some very short term relief of discomfort associated with the inflammation and resulting loss of range of motion in a sore muscle this effect will last only minutes and if not implemented appropriately may actually exacerbate the problem.