Why bother to get out of bed?
If you are feeling extra lazy on your day off, you don’t have to get out of bed to still give your body some relief with a good stretch. If you are destined for bed on a rainy Sunday, remember that muscle tension will still accumulate; so make some moves from the mattress to keep them at back and keep on relaxing!
From bed, let the stress melt away and try a few simple stretches.
…and of course, always remember to practice deep breathing, especially in bed. The extra influx of oxygen will help you relax further and treat your muscles at the same time. Here are stretches that target the back and hips- two regions that tend to accumulate the most tension during the regular course of life.
- Hamstring stretch: lay flat, and lift one leg up. Raise it as high and straight as possible while keeping your butt planted on the bed. Hold 30 seconds, then switch legs.
- Knee to chest: lay flat. Bring one knee up to your chest, clasping the thigh with both hands. Hold 30 seconds, then repeat with opposite leg.
- Spine twist: Lay flat, bring both knees up to your chest; cross them over and drop down to the right side of your body. Extend left arm the opposite direction and look over your left shoulder. Hold 30 seconds and repeat.
Relaxing, stretching and feeling better with chiropractic in Park Slope
The bed is a cornerstone of wellness. At Park Slope Chiropractic, we want to help you leave pain behind so that you can relax well all the time. If you are suffering from long-standing pain, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today. We can help you determine the root cause of your pain and set a course for treatment that involves chiropractic adjustment, stretching and strengthening that will keep your pain at bay.
Sciatica is no joke: the symptoms associated with sciatic nerve compression include stiffness and pain in the lower back and buttocks, tingling in numbness in the lower extremities, hip pain and weakness in the leg. The sciatic nerve is the longest in the body and influences many of the muscles on the backside of the lower body. The causes of sciatica are many and varied, including herniated disc and subluxation, degenerative bone disease, piriformis syndrome and even general instability in the sacral and lumbar regions of the spine. Chiropractic is an excellent modality for responding to sciatica because through hands-on adjustment and trigger point therapy we can release the tension and tightness from muscles that may be contributing to irritation of the sciatic nerve. Spinal traction and the associated decompression is good for alleviating the pain and impingement associated with nerve pain from herniated discs.
No matter the cause of your sciatica, almost everyone can benefit from basic strengthening and stretching in the lower back. Simple stretches that can be done from the bedroom, but will make a world of difference in your suffering from sciatica include:
- Knee to chest: simple, lay on your back with knees elevated and feet flat. Pull one leg up toward your chest and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat twice with each leg.
- Piriformis stretch (of which there are multiple varieties).
- Creating a 4: Lay on your back with legs elevated and feet flat. Cross your right ankle over the left knee and clasp your hands behind the left knee. Pull your left leg up toward your chest whilc pressing the opposite direction with your right leg. Hold this position for 30 seconds then repeat with the other leg.
- Stretching the hip flexor: start in kneeling position with left leg down. Place hands on right knee and lean into it, you should feel a stretch in the hips and the hamstrings. Hold this position for 15 seconds then repeat with the other leg.
While sciatica is not entirely avoidable, it can be eased by dilligent stretching. Try doing these simple stretches once in the morning and once before bed and feel the tension float away. If you are in too much pain to perform even these motions, it may be time to talk to a health professional about determining the root of your pain; our ears are always open at Community Chiropractic & Acupuncture of Park Slope.
Dr. Karen Thomas, D.C.
…Well, maybe not just like it. But it is important to remember to stretch on the go. As you pass through each phase of your daily waking life, it is important to remember to keep your muscles moving so that tension does not accumulate. Tension of the muscles and stress/anxiety are inextricably linked in both directions so managing one will help you manage the other. When it comes to adding more stretching into your life, the key is repetition. Instill the thirst for stretching and your body and brain will reward you.
Those of us who spend significant portions of the day in an office chair are the most at risk for energy stangation, muscle tension and spinal degradation. Fight back against this damaging cycle by setting a timer for the top of every hour and taking a break from the chair to stretch it out: you don’t even have to get up.
Step 1: Shake your shoulders out. Feel how tightly wound you were after 2 hours of intense computer work? This is how much tension immediately leaves your body when you shake your shoulders.
Step 2: Treat your neck to a bit of flexion and extension, moving your chin down toward chest and up toward the sky. Gently move your ears down to each shoulder until you feel a decent stretch in the opposing side of the neck.
Step 3: Reach for the sky with all your might. Clasp your hands together with palms facing outward and extend your arms upward. Repeat this stretch in front of yourself.
Step 4: Place one leg over the other and gently twist your body in the opposing direction.
Together, these stretches take under 3 minutes out of a work hour. The reward in productivity should be enough to convince your boss. The more you can remember to do them, the better the reward. At your Park Slope Chiropractor, we are all about combatting tension. Call our office to find out ways to break the cycles of stagnation that we all inevitably fall victim to.
Dr. Karen Thomas, D.C., L.Ac.
Here are some excellent back strengthening exercises to help rehabilitate & strengthen your spinal muscles.
First of all a 20 to 30 min Cardio-Vascular warm-up is imperative. Rowing, biking, jump-rope, swimming, elliptical are all good options.
Next, begin with EXTENSOR muscle work & strengthening. These are the muscles (triceps, latts, quads, buttock & back) that help us stand up straight, with straight arms & legs.
It is always best, whenever possible, to do ‘cross-crawl’ exercises. This means opposite arm & leg engagement. For example, imagine throwing a javelin – your eyes will be on the hand in extension & you will be standing on the opposite leg. We are designed this way & it is the best way to exercise.
Finally, wind down w/ flexor muscle exercise – only now do you do any biceps, pect & ab work! And finish w/ a few minutes of stretching.
Plan routine work-outs 3 to 4 times a week. Keep a well aligned spine with chiropractic adjustments & enjoy a long & healthy life!
Dr. Karen A. Thomas Park Slope Community Chiropractic & Acupuncture