Stretching and flexing the muscles, tendons, and ligaments is an important part of all exercise programs. Stretches are designed to alleviate pain and are mostly done under the guidance of a physiotherapist or trained specialist.
Stretching helps to:
- Reduce tension buildup in muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
- Improve range of motion and mobility
- Relax the joints and muscles
Tips for Doing Stretches:
- Wear loose and comfortable clothing
- Do not force any position or movement
- Stretch slowly to avoid muscle strain
- Hold stretches for 15 to 30 seconds
- Concentrate on working on one body part and one side of the body at a time
Types of Neck and Shoulder Stretches:
Basic stretches for the neck and shoulder are easy and can be done at home, at work, or even while in the car. Examples include:
Flexion stretch - Chin to Chest: Bend the head forward, bringing your chin to rest on your chest, do that till a stretch is felt in the back of the neck.
Lateral Flexion Stretch - Ear to Shoulder: Bend the neck to the side as if touching the ear to the shoulder, do that till a stretch is felt in the side of the neck.
Levator Scapula Stretch: While resting one arm against a wall, with the elbow slightly above the shoulder, turn the head to face the opposite direction. Bring the chin down towards the chest till you feel a stretch in the back of the neck.
Corner Stretch: Stand facing the corner of the room, and place your forearms on the wall with the elbows at around shoulder height. Then lean forward until a stretch is felt under the collarbone.
Types of Low Back Pain Stretches:
Back Flexion Stretch: Lie on your back, pull both knees to the chest, until you feel a comfortable stretch across the mid and low back.
Knee to Chest Stretch: Lie on your back with the knees bent and both heels on the floor, then pull the knee towards the chest with both hands, stretching the muscles in the buttock.
These exercises can be done with the help of a caregiver, fitness trainer, or physiotherapist.
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