Tag Archives: Stretching

INTRODUCING PILATES ………….

 

Pilates is an exercise system which stretches and strengthens the body.  It focuses on precision, control and movement quality as well as helping with balance, muscle-strength, flexibility and posture. So, naturally we recommend that our patients invest their time in Pilates to help with existing complaints and to avoid future problems. For three years now we have referred our patients to Jackie Whitley. Jackie is a Body Control Pilates Level 4 Specialist Instructor which means she is qualified to work with people diagnosed with non- specific lower back pain. Jackie is able to work one to one and in small groups. Even clients who regularly attend a class have benefitted from a one to one session every few months, where you can concentrate on exercises you find difficult and make sure you are progressing.  For advice about Pilates and to book with Jackie call her on 07794 271816.

 

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DON’T BE A SLOUCH!

Good posture is about keeping your body in alignment. To stand with good posture means standing tall, shoulders back, chest up, stomach in and looking at the horizon.

To assume a good posture your ears, shoulders and hips should be in a straight line.

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As you can see in the picture above, if your hips, shoulders or ears are out of alignment it leads to poor posture and strain on the back and neck.

Commonly, people have rounded shoulders and a forward head position. This brings the ears and shoulders forward away from their neutral position over the hips putting strain on the base of the neck and low back. A good example of this is the thoracic kyphosis model above.

If you struggle with poor posture take time each day to do some stretching as described below. If you experience pain during or after the exercises it is best to cease the activity and to seek professional advice.

1. Lie down over a rolled up towel or foam roller so it runs down the length of your spine.

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2. Stretch your arms out from your side at 90 degrees and hold for 2 to 4 minutes.

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3. Stretch your arms over your head and hold for 2 to 4 minutes.

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4. Reposition the roller so that it lies at 90 degrees to your spine. Lie over the roller again so it causes your mid back to arch. Hold for 2 to 4 minutes.

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Written by Patrick Norman B.Ost

Registered Osteopath

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Neck Stretches

I have put together a short and simple set of stretches for the neck. If you suffer with a stiff and achy neck these stretches are sure to help. If you are suffering with sharp pain I would advise consulting an osteopath before undertaking stretches.

When stretching you should always feel comfortable. If you have to hold your breath, clench your jaw or find yourself shaking while stretching then you are pulling too hard and you risk doing more harm than good.

Gentle neck stretch:

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Lying on your back with your arm at 90° to your body, gently turn your neck away from your outstretched arm.

Hold for 15 to 20 seconds. You should feel a stretch in the side of your neck and top of your chest.

If no stretch is felt you should graduate onto the more advanced neck stretches below.

Reinforced neck stretch 1:

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Sitting or standing, place your hand over the top of your head and rest your hand on your opposite ear.

Without using the muscles in your neck to help, draw your elbow down towards your side.

Hold for 15 to 20 seconds, you will feel a stretch down the side of your neck.

Repeat on the opposite side.

Reinforced neck stretch 2:

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Again place your hand over the top of your head, this time resting your hand behind the ear.

Without using the muscles in your neck to help, draw your elbow down and forwards, guiding your nose towards your armpit.

Hold for 15 to 20 seconds, you will feel a stretch down one side of the back of your neck.

Repeat on the opposite side.

Reinforced neck stretch 3:

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Place your hand on the back of your head with your fingertips at the base of your skull.

With your arm in front of you, draw your elbow forward and down.

Hold for 15 to 20 seconds, you will feel a stretch down the centre of your neck most noticeably at the base of your skull.

Repeat on the opposite side. The stretch is subtly different side to side and needs to be done bilaterally.

Written by Patrick Norman B.Ost

Registered Osteopath

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