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Understanding the Benefits of Stretching Exercises

Family Integrative Medicine patient does stretching exercises to avoid chronic pain conditions

The expert team at Family Integrative Medicine has witnessed how stretching exercises have had a hugely positive impact on our patients’ wellbeing. Some sit at an office desk for hours on end, while others operate heavy machinery or regularly drive long distances. All could happily speak to the many benefits of stretching exercises.

Many may be surprised to hear that some types of neck pain and headaches can be relieved by simple stretching. Radiating neck pain can sometimes cause issues tension headaches. A helpful way to use stretching to treat such headaches is by doing a three-way neck stretch. This type of stretch is able to lengthen and ease the tension located in the upper trap, levator scapulae and the flexors located deep in the posterior triangle of the neck.

One of the most well-known benefits of stretching is its ability to relieve lower back pain. Abdominal exercises such as windshield wipers can alleviate tension and tightness in the lower back. The muscles associated with this exercise are the erector spinae, pelvic muscles and the obliques. Another great exercise, which involves bringing your knees to your chest, helps with non-specific, tight lower back pain. It works by stretching the gluteus maximus, pelvic muscles, spinal extensors and quadriceps.

Stretching your spine will also do wonders for your posture. This is especially true if you generally find yourself occupying a slouched posture. A few simple rotational stretches for your spine will decrease your risk of back injury, can relieve non-specific back pain and improve your athletic performance, all at once.

What Type of Stretch Will Benefit Me Most?
At Family Integrative Medicine, our patients often ask us which type of stretch is best. However, it’s critically important to consider your individual needs and goals when designing your health plan. There are a variety of factors that impact what would work best for you.
1. Your health goals. Are you an athlete or gymnast who wants to be more flexible, or are you focused on increasing your range of motion, strength and balance?
2. Your current physical health. Do you have a neuromuscular condition that is appropriate to be treated with stretching, or would another approach be better for your overall wellbeing?
3. Any acute injuries. Are you recovering from a recent injury or surgery? Some conditions may require extra care, such as a frozen shoulder.

Did you know? It’s entirely possible to improve your overall mood by stretching because the region you stretch will experience an increase of blood flow. This increased blood flow brings nutrients that benefit the muscles and joints in the area. When your body feels well, you feel better, too!

About Family Integrative Medicine in Central Florida
As a leader in person-centered care, Family Integrative Medicine serves families, elder adults, sports athletes and veterans in Central Florida who want to pursue faster and more effective healing for a variety of chronic conditions.

Schedule your consultation so that we can support your healthcare needs and improve your quality of life, starting today!

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