We often hear about stretching. Most people think of stretching as an activity for people that exercise and play sports. Stretching is actually an activity that can be performed by anyone, but more importantly should be performed by everyone. Stretching is also a form of exercise and can provide a lot of relief form aches and pains.
Here are some stretches for commonly tight muscles. These muscles are often tight because of long duration sitting, repetitive movements, poor posture, and poor ergonomic work stations.
The upper trapezius is a muscle that is probably the most commonly tight muscle, and can cause symptoms such as shoulder pain, neck pain, headaches, limited range of motion, etc.
To stretch the upper trap: This stretch can be done sitting or standing. You want to relax both shoulders then laterally bend your head so that your ear gets closer to your shoulder. Hold this stretch for 15-30 seconds, and repeat this on the other side.
Mid back muscles is often neglected because routinely we are performing tasks that are in front of us. This stretch is will also stretch the shoulders which often gets tight.
To stretch the mid back: Again you should drop your shoulders and pull your arm across the chest. Hold this stretch for 15-30 seconds, and repeat this on the other side.
Picture Ref: http://goo.gl/mN7jdM
The latissimus dorsi (Lats) is the largest back muscle we have, it has a vast connection spanning from the low back to the mid back. This back muscle can be the host of many back issues.
To stretch the Lats- Interlace your fingers and lift your arms over your head to straighten the elbows. The palms of your interlaced hands should face upwards, and pressed upwards as much as possible. Slow bend to the side so that you feel a stretch. Hold this stretch for 15-30 seconds, and repeat this on the other side.
Picture Ref: http://goo.gl/DUvWW
Hip flexor is constantly shortened due to the amount of sitting we do. Check out the blog on sitting and the detriments it can have on you: http://www.bandcchiropractic.com/blog/the-health-hazards-of-sitting/.
To stretch the hip flexors: Get down on one knee and the other leg in front at roughly 90 degrees. Maintain a straight posture with the hips and the body. Start guiding the front knee forward until you feel the back leg stretching. This should be felt at the front of the thigh in the back leg. Hold this stretch for 15-30 seconds, and repeat this on the other side.
Picture Ref: http://goo.gl/qgQxTN
Another muscle that is greatly influenced from the action of sitting is the glute muscles. This is a very power muscle and has three bellies. Sitting actually weakens the glute muscles. Weakness in a muscle often results to tightness, pain, and trigger points.
To stretch the glute muscles: Begin by lying on the floor. Take one arm and pull the opposite leg at the knee (flexed knee) towards the opposite shoulder. Hold this stretch for 15-30 seconds, and repeat this on the other side.
These stretches are can be done daily and should not increase pain or discomfort. If you would like to find out more about stretching, book a free consultation.