Stretching Aches & Pains

Well, good and bad news tonight.
The good news is, I am finally feeling healthy enough to start stretching again. My cold is finally passing, I feel practically back to normal except for the occasional sneezing and runny nose.
The bad news is, tonight, stretching for the first time in 3 days, I really messed up my knee and re-aggravated my hamstrings.

I know I mentioned a little while ago that I had started to develop some soreness in my upper hamstrings and the break from stretching caused by my cold was probably a good thing. And it was. The soreness in my upper hamstrings had basically gone away by today. But stretching tonight, I guess I pushed them too far and now they feel worse.

I always have this problem. I have a real difficulty telling the difference between good stretching pain and bad stretching pain. I know what it feels like to stretch a muscle, but I have a hard time telling how far is too far.

And things were feeling pretty good tonight until I got to my single leg stretches, and I don’t know. It didn’t feel like I was pushing too hard or too fast, but by the time the stretch was over, my upper hamstrings hurts a lot.

I always seem to be prone to injuries in that area: where your hamstrings connect to your pelvis. I’ve hurt myself there before. Luckily, this is a minor irritation, and rest and gentle stretching should solve the problem.

I think tomorrow I’ll try stretching my hamstrings to see how they feel. I might have to take another break, but they might feel good enough to get a little stretching in. We’ll see.

I’ve basically decided, after irritating my hamstrings like this and doing some reading, that I need to completely revamp my stretching routine. I really think I need to quit focusing on the intense stretches, quit focusing on my ultimate flexibility goals, quit focusing on “making progress,”, and just stretch. Really gentle and slow stretches. And certain stretches for me are a lot easier to perform without over stretching or hurting myself, and I think I need to focus on those stretches more.

I think I need to cut back on the amount of time I’m holding some stretches. With some stretches, like the ones I’m very comfortable with and have a lot of control over, the current time is okay. You know, I can hold my frog stretch for 5 minutes because it doesn’t hurt and I have a lot of control over the intensity of the stretch. But others, like my single leg hamstring stretches, I just find it too easy to push to the point of injury. I don’t know. I’ll work something out.

Anyways, I know I said I screwed up my knee, and I did. I was doing a modified stretch for the splits, which seemed like a good idea in my head, but it was hell on my left knee. The problem was, I knew I was going to hurt my knee, but I was so determined to hold the stretch for the determined amount of time, that I just ignored the pain and wound up really screwing up my knee.

Basically what happened was too much pressure was put on one of the ligaments or tendons surrounding my knee, stretching it when it didn’t want to be stretched. And judging from the way my knee feels right now, I’ve probably got a deep tissue bruise too.

Whether fortunately or unfortunately, I’ve had this injury before (also caused by splits stretching) so I know how to treat it. The bad thing is, it’s going to take a really long time for my knee to get back to normal.

I have horrible knees. I’m pretty sure it’s a combination of genetics and chronic weakness. They get injured very easily and become painful if they stay bent for too long. Like yesterday, after sitting through the Hobbit movie, I practically had to hobble out of the movie theater, my knees hurt so bad from being in the sitting position. Really the only remedy to fix this problem is to strengthen my knees.

So basically, I’m going to avoid, as much as possible, putting pressure on my injuries knee. Hopefully in a couple of weeks the bruise will surface and fade and once I get back to Columbus, I can work on getting stronger and my knees will stop having so many problems.

These injuries are irritating, mostly because they’re my own fault because once again I failed to listen to what my body was telling me. I think this is another reason I’ve had such difficulty with flexibility, I always wind up pushing too far too fast and hurting myself and setting myself back. But no more!! It’s time I started listening to the signals my body is giving me so I can prevent this kind of stuff from happening again.

Life can be frustrating, can it not??
Good night.

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About emilleejoyce

I am a yoga alliance 200 hour certified yoga teacher whose hobbies include growing cacti and succulents, cooking vegan food, and bicycling. My day job is in academic publishing.

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