Taking time to stretch every day can make all the difference in the world. Stretching can help keep you healthy, happy, and ready for everyday activities such as lifting a heavy object or carrying groceries up a flight of stairs. Not only can stretching help you with these everyday tasks, but it can also help you in the gym and at work. In this article our experts at AmeriCare Physical Therapy share a number of ways that may benefit you.
Stretches for Basic Mobility
Taking a few minutes out of your day to stretch for essential mobility can help you in many ways. Many people who work in jobs that require sitting for long periods of time develop the habit of slouching. Sitting for long periods can increase spinal curvature, which increases the risk of developing arthritis and other joint problems.
Incorporating stretches into your daily routine can help you improve your posture, maintain active joints, and avoid aches and pains that come from being stagnant. Common basic mobility stretches include the ‘cow’ & ‘cat’ pose, standing side stretch, shoulder pass-through, leg stretches, and quad pulsing stretches.
Stretches for Relieving ‘Tech Neck’ From Using Computer
At AmeriCare Physical Therapy we commonly see patients who come in with an injury after working from home or are on the computer for extended periods of time. The act of sitting and working on the computer with an improper setup can lead to headaches in addition to pain in the upper back, neck, and shoulders. This is commonly diagnosed as ‘tech neck’. Technology can cause tension throughout the body, especially when sitting down for too long. The stress on the neck is compounded by staring at a monitor or tablet for hours and never letting your eyes move from it.
Tech neck results from muscle tension and shortening in the neck and back. This tension causes the head to extend forward, which results in an individual looking down all day at work. Stretches you can include in your everyday routine to relieve tech neck from using a computer include the cobra pose, chin tucks, ‘hand to ear’ stretch, and the upward-facing dog stretch. A physical therapist can also give you additional stretches depending on the condition of your ‘tech neck.’
Stretches for Maintaining Use of Wrists to Avoid Carpal Tunnel
The wrists and related muscle groups are subject to a lot of wear and tear from repetitive motions, especially typing. The forearm, wrist, and hand muscles get tired from overuse and stress put on them by the hands as they move a pencil or mouse.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by repetitive hand movement, which eventually can tighten the spaces between the median nerve and the first carpometacarpal joint in the wrist. This repetitive hand movement causes pain and numbness (paraesthesia). Stretches for preventing carpal tunnel include the forearm/wrist flexor stretch, wrist extensor stretch, and the prayer stretch.
Stretches for Having Proper Posture During the Work Day
Having good posture is crucial when you are working while sitting at a desk for an extended period of time. Improper posture can cause discomfort and pain in your lower back, shoulders, neck, and head due to tight muscles> It can also make it challenging to perform your job. Stretching helps maintain proper upper body alignment by stretching the chest, shoulders, and back muscles while sitting.
Stretches for maintaining good posture include the standing neck roll, standing chest stretch, forward flexion poses, and the seated hamstring stretch.
There are many different reasons why stretching is beneficial. It can help you with your everyday life, keep you healthy, prevent injury, and help you perform daily tasks more effectively. You can do all the stretches mentioned in this article at any time. If you require more options and stretches to incorporate into your daily routine, please reach out to AmeriCare Physical Therapy when looking for a reliable physical therapy clinic near you.