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Health is not valued until sickness comes.
Thomas Fuller
English historian 1608 – 1661

Stretches and Exercises

Flexibility is vital in order to allow for proper joint alignment and function. Muscle stretching is very helpful in attaining better flexibility. Some things to remember is to not overdo it, keep it to a mildly uncomfortable stretch, and stop if it hurts. If you keep to these guidelines, you should find that these stretches for your spine are really helpful.

Warning: Please do not attempt any of the stretches and exercises if you have not specifically been advised by Dr. de Beer to do so. If you do them without advice from Dr. de Beer, you do so at your own risk.

Neck Stretches

Lateral Neck Stretch

  • Pull your head so that the right ear moves toward the right shoulder.
  • Repeat on the left side.
  • You should feel the stretch on the opposite side from behind your ear to your shoulder tip.
  • Hold for 15-20 seconds on each side, and repeat 3 times. Do this at least 1-2 times per day.

45 Degree Neck Stretch

  • Pull your head so that your nose moves towards your right armpit.
  • Repeat on the left side.
  • You should feel the stretch on the opposite side from the base of the back of your skull down to your shoulder blade.
  • Hold for 15-20 seconds on each side, and repeat 3 times. Do this at least 1-2 times per day.

Mid Back Stretches

Mid Back Stretch 1

  • Hike your right shoulder up, then bring right arm across your chest.
  • Grab the right wrist with your left hand and pull it further across and downwards.
  • Repeat on the left side.
  • You should feel the stretch on the same side that you are stretching, between the shoulder blade and the spine.
  • Hold for 15-20 seconds on each side, and repeat 3 times. Do this at least 1-2 times per day.

Mid Back Stretch 2

  • Grab onto a pole or anything solid. Use both hands.
  • Pull away from the pole, arching and pulling your spine backwards so that it opens up the shoulder blades. Keep your head down.
  • You should feel the stretch between the shoulder blades.
  • Hold for 15-20 seconds, and repeat 3 times. Do this at least 1-2 times per day.

Lower Back Stretches

Standing Lower Back Stretch

  • Stand up with knees slightly bent.
  • Bend forward so that your hands are hanging beyond the knees.
  • Turn as far as you can to the right and hold. Bend and move your knees as you need.
  • Repeat the stretch on the left.
  • You should feel the stretch in the low back between the lowest rib and the hip (pelvic) bone on the opposite side to the stretch.
  • Hold for 15-20 seconds on each side, and repeat 3 times. Do this at least 1-2 times per day.
  • Stand up safely (i.e. when finished, return to the middle starting position, then bend the knees more and use your legs to stand up straight).
  • If this is difficult to do, or if it places too much pressure on your lower back, then do the Kneeling Low Back Stretch.

Kneeling Lower Back Stretch 2

  • Kneel onto both knees (on the floor, or your bed).
  • Straighten your arms in front of you, without your low back moving up.
  • Move arms to one side, and hold the stretch.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.
  • You should feel the stretch in the low back between the lowest rib and the hip (pelvic) bone on the opposite side to the stretch.
  • Hold for 15-20 seconds on each side, and repeat 3 times. Do this at least 1-2 times per day.
  • Sit up safely (i.e. when finished, return to the middle starting position, then sit slowly up and use the knees to get up).

Glut Stretches

Glut Stretch 1

  • Sitting on the edge of your chair/bed, knees bent at 90 degrees, place the right ankle onto the left knee. Then pull the knee to the opposite shoulder.
  • Repeat on the left side.
  • You should feel the stretch in the buttock muscle on the same side as the stretch.
  • Hold for 15-20 seconds on each side, and repeat 3 times. Do this at least 1-2 times per day.

Glut Stretch 2

  • Sitting on the edge of your chair/bed, knees bent at 90 degrees, place the right ankle onto the left knee.
  • Push the right knee towards the floor, and sit forward at the same time.
  • Repeat on the left side.
  • You should feel the stretch in the buttock muscle on the same side as the stretch.
  • Hold for 15-20 seconds on each side, and repeat 3 times. Do this at least 1-2 times per day.

Wall Angel Stretch

Wall Angel

  • Stand up against the wall, flatten your lower back onto the wall (your feet need to be away from the wall to do this).
  • Make sure there is no gap between your lower back and the wall.
  • Place your elbows and wrists on the wall next to your side (straight arms, with palms facing forwards), and make sure they don’t come off the wall.
  • Lift them up so that you aim to try and get your finger tips to touch (without lifting your wrists and elbows off the wall), although you may not be able to due to approximation of the shoulder blades. Simply go as high up as you can.
  • Hold it at the top for 5 seconds, and do 3 repetitions. This equals 1 set. Perform 3 sets one to two times a day. If you find 5 seconds is too short, you are welcome to hold for longer.
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