We use the SIO! program which utilizes a combination of static and dynamic stretching and places parameters in place for a comfortable stretch. What we are doing is not really stretching to increase the length of muscle-tendon, but rather exercise that moves a person through his/her own available ROM fully, with no end bouncing or actual tissue stretching as referred to in the athletic population in the research. This is not injurious as one is merely going through the full safe ROM to their endpoint. Potential damage can occur if one pushes beyond that point. We have designed the stretching program to be tailored to the job duties of each area and have trained Stretch Coaches as a safeguard against injury to lead and monitor the daily exercises and address any immediate concerns of the employees.
We all get tight from just being in neutral postures and rarely move through our full active ROM.
“Stretching makes the muscle-tendon unit more compliant … increased compliance shifts the angle–torque relationship to allow greater relative force production at longer muscle lengths … Subsequently the enhanced ability to resist excessive muscle elongation may decrease the susceptibility to a muscle strain injury.”1
The benefits we are trying to attain with stretching are:
- Improved blood flow.
- Improve blood flow to the tissues. Blood flow gets oxygen and nutrients to the muscle/tendon.
- Eliminate waste products.
- The movement of stretching helps eliminate the waste products produced from muscle contractions
- Optimal range of motion.
- Active range of motion (ROM) is always necessary for good function, and in a normal life, especially with aging, the ROM decreases. This will keep good active ROM at a more optimal level.
- Increase wellbeing.
- The stretching always “feels” refreshing and people like the feeling of their body after stretching. This increases wellbeing.
- Increase circulation.
- To prepare for work or any specific work task, full ROM and increased circulation is always a good thing.
- Body awareness.
- The stretching allows the worker to “feel” his body and makes him/her more aware of proper work movements. This improves safety as the person is more aware of their body.
- Warm up the body.
- If active ROM is done within the full safe range it will warm the body as it brings blood flow.
- Improve the viscoelastic properties of the tissue.
- If we don’t prepare or warm up the muscles, tendons, body with gentle stretching, the result of a slip, exertion or poorly planned move during activity (work, sport, or leisure) will put a far greater stressful “stretch” on the tissue and potentially cause a greater damage
- Decrease injury severity and costs
Stretching is just one component of an injury prevention and management process. Achieving positive results with a stretching program is best accomplished by using a structured approach to the employee stretching program which includes measuring data and monitoring progress through an audit and employee feedback process.
Implementing a stretching program has served as a catalyst to the implementation of other Work Injury Prevention and Management Process components. It has assisted in increasing awareness of safety and is another daily visible reminder to employees of the company’s commitment to the safety and wellbeing of its employees.
For more information, Contact Advanced Rehabilitation today.