6 min read

Top 5 Muscle Pain Relief Stretches You Can Do Anywhere

Posted on

Top 5 Muscle Pain Relief Stretches You Can Do Anywhere

Many people think of stretching and immediately associate it with pre or post-workout, but what about adding in some muscle pain relief stretches during your work day?

We are spending a considerable amount of time (approximately 8 hours) seated at our desk during the day, or looking down on our phones or tablets. Surely, we should take some time to think about muscle pain relief. Overtime our bodies will no longer want to deal with the strain caused by static posture. The most common types of pain we experience are neck tension, stiff shoulders, hip and back pain.

We take you through five effective active stretches for your whole body, resulting in increased mobility and muscle pain relief.

ralph

ralph

ralph

Neck Stretch: Hold for 10 seconds, 3x/side

  1. Bend your head to the right.
  2. Lower and press down your left shoulder
  3. Reach forward with your left arm, just below shoulder level.

This is a great neck stretch for overall neck tension and muscle pain relief since it stretches out the upper trapezius muscle, while simultaneously promoting activity of the serratus anterior muscle. Both of these muscles work together to create healthy shoulder movement.

ralph

ralph

ralph

ralph

Thoracic Spine Rotations: Complete 5x/side

  1. Lay on your right side, with your right leg extended and your left knee bent at 90 degrees, propped up with either a foam roller or pillow, to lock out your lumbar spine.
  2. Outstretch your right arm to shoulder level with your palm facing up, and place your left arm directly on top.
  3. Slowly start lifting your left arm up, mimicking the motion of an archer, rotating segmentally up the spine to evenly distribute the motion.
  4. When the back of your left arm reaches the ground on the opposite side of your body, slowly rotate back to the starting position.

This stretch is great for thoracic spine relief. To increase extension and rotation within our thoracic spine. This will also offload the lumbar spine, decreasing back tension.

ralph

ralph
ralph
ralph

Hip Flexor Stretch (iliopsoas muscle release): Complete 5x/side

  1. Start in a kneeling position, with your left leg forward, and your right knee bent behind you.
  2. Tuck your pelvis under and squeeze your right glute.
  3. Reach your right arm up and overhead to the left.
  4. Lift your left arm up to shoulder level and rotate to the left.

This hip flexor stretch helps to offset prolonged sitting by stretching out your anterior hip flexors, especially the psoas, which can pull you into an anterior pelvic tilt.

 

ralph

Pectoralis Wall Stretch: Hold for 30 seconds/side

  1. Find a doorway or the edge of a wall, and place your left arm against it, with your elbow bent and your arm overhead.
  2. Sink forward into the stretch.

Stretching out the pectoralis muscle will correct your slouched posture and restore normal shoulder motion.

ralph

ralph
ralph

Hip External Rotator Stretch: Hold for 1 minute/side

  1. Lay on your back with your knees bent and both feet flat on the floor.
  2. Place your left heel on your right thigh, just above the knee.
  3. Lift your right foot off the ground, and hug your right thigh into your chest.
  4. To intensify the stretch, use your left elbow to push your left knee down and roll your body slightly to the right.

This is an effective stretch to increase hip mobility and reduce sacroiliac joint pain.

These stretches focus on the major muscle groups that usually contribute to neck and low back pain and stiffness. They are super simple and easy to do virtually anywhere! Something as little as spending a few minutes stretching is all you need for muscle pain relief.  Small sacrifices daily will help the longevity of your body.

3 min read

Dr. Veronica Lui

Posted on

3 Exercises To Help With Sciatica Pain Relief

First off, what is sciatica? Simply put, it’s a pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve runs from your low back to your buttock and down the back of your thigh and calf.

With the sciatic nerve being the longest and largest nerve in the body, you can imagine how debilitating it would be to have it aggravated.

Of course, manual therapy can help with sciatica pain relief but when you couple treatments with these three at home exercises, your sciatic nerve won’t be pissed off anymore.

ralph
ralph

Nerve Flossing

  1. Sit comfortably in a chair and bring your affected leg up with the knee extended
  2. Plantarflex your foot (point your toes down) and simultaneously flex your head forward (bring your chin to your chest). Hold this position for 3 seconds.
  3. Next, dorsiflex your foot (point your toes up) and simultaneously extend your head backward (look up to the ceiling). Hold this position for 3 seconds.
  4. Transition through each step smoothly and slowly
  5. Steps “b to c” count as one repetition. Perform 8 reps, 3 times a day

ralph
ralph

Piriformis stretch

  1. Laying comfortably on your back, bring your affected leg toward your torso and lay it across the unaffected leg, as shown in the photo
  2. Pull the unaffected leg toward you and simultaneously push the affected leg away from you
  3. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, 3 reps, 3 times a day

ralph
ralph

Lumbar extension

  1. Lay on your stomach with your arms bent and hands by your ears
  2. Gently push up onto your forearms and extend your low back  
  3. To take it one step further, push up onto your hands while keeping your pelvis glued to the floor as best you can (sloppy push-up), and again further extending your low back  
  4. Hold for 10 seconds, 6 reps, 3 times a day  

As always, take it easy and be cautious with the sciatica exercises. You want to calm the sciatic nerve down, not irritate it even more. You will feel some discomfort with these exercises, but hey… no pain, no gain right? That being said, work within your own tolerance and stop any of these exercises if the pain worsens.

3 min read

Alex Hart

Posted on

How To Bar Hop Without Lower Back Pain

After a long day of work, spending a few hours unwinding at the bar with friends is common for a lot of us. But hours of drinking ultimately leads to prolonged sitting and standing, which could result in nagging lower back pain.

Nobody thinks about physical health while enjoying themselves at the bar. But you may want to reconsider and start using the chair or foot rail to help reduce that nagging lower back pain.

Difficulties meeting the prolonged postural demands hints towards a bigger issue than simply, “back pain.” This term has previously been called lower cross syndrome and is a way to conceptualize a combination of muscle imbalances that results in constant lower back pain.

ralph

These imbalances typically consist of the following:

  • Tight lumbar extensors
  • Weak / Inhibited Abdominals
  • Tight Hip flexors
  • Weak / Inhibited gluteus muscles

The result is a hyperlordosis in our back, more commonly known as anterior pelvic tilt. But good news! If you find yourself stuck in this situation, you can work to counteract some of the tight muscles that may be causing these issues.

Here are three quick exercises you can do at the bar without catching too much attention.

ralph

90/90 Breathing

This move is a great workout that uses specific muscle activation patterns to help alleviate a tight lower back and hip flexors.

  • In a sitting position, place your heels in front of the two front legs of the chair.
  • Make a fist with both hands and place them between your knees.
  • Press your heels into the legs of the chair, activating your hamstrings on the backside of your thigh.
  • Lightly squeeze together your knees against your fists, activating your adductors (groin muscles).
  • While breathing slowly, imagine tucking your tailbone underneath yourself, this is called a posterior pelvic tilt.
  • Repeat this for 2-3 minutes.

ralph

Couch Stretch

This move stretches out your hip flexors, which often tightens after prolonged standing ?

  • While standing and using a high chair, bring your foot up to the seat
  • Tuck your tailbone underneath yourself by lightly contracting your abdominals.
  • Take slow and deep breaths in through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
  • Repeat this for 20 secs, 2-3 times.

ralph

Figure Four Stretch

This stretch will target a muscle deep to the glutes called the piriformis. Doing this move will help alleviate some of the tightness  on the tailbone you feel from a long period of sitting. 

  • Using a high chair in front of you, bring your leg up onto it so that the outside of your shin is flat on the seat.
  • Take a deep breath in and out, and lightly lean forward at the hips do go deeper into this stretch
  • If your leg doesn’t lay flat, feel free to use a fist between your knee and the seat surface.
  • Repeat this for 20 secs, 2-3 times.

So next time you decide to spend an evening at the bar, make sure to try these exercises and avoid a “lower back hangover.”