How to Stretch Your Body Like a Physical Therapist

Body Stretching

Is your body in need of a good stretch?

Stretching has actually been shown to have a wide range of benefits, including improving flexibility and strengthening your muscles to reduce joint pain. Who knew such an easy exercise would be so good for you?

But, of course, it only works if you know how to do it. There are certain stretches that are amazing for different parts of your body, and knowing which ones to do could help you relieve a lot of aches and pains. 

Find out more with our guide to different physical therapy stretches.

Knee to Chest

If you’re looking for a physical therapy low back stretch, the knee to chest is a great one. It’s simple to do and needs no equipment!

Simply lay on the floor, pointing your toes upwards towards the ceiling. Bend your right leg at the knee and bring it up towards your chest, lacing your fingers together at the knee and pulling your leg towards you. Hole the position for 15-20 seconds before letting go and moving back to the starting position. 

For best results, you should repeat this stretch three times, alternating legs as you do it. This is a brilliant exercise for stretching the gluteal and lower back muscles, and it’s great for improving flexibility. 

Child’s Pose

You might’ve heard of prayer stretch, which is the same as child’s pose. It’s actually frequently used in yoga, so if you enjoy yoga classes you might already know it! Child’s pose is another great stretch for your lower back muscles. 

To do it, place your hands and knees on the floor, aligning your hands with your shoulders and your knees with your hips. Move your hands out in front of you so that your arms are fully stretched out, keeping your palms on the floor. Gently move your hips back a little as you move your head and chest down to the floor. 

You should feel a stretch along your arms and back. Hold the position for up to 30 seconds before returning the start position. 

Calf Stretch With a Band

Tight calf muscles can lead to a whole host of other issues, including increasing the risk of tearing your Achilles tendon or spraining your ankle. Luckily, calf stretches can help.

This calf stretch uses physical therapy stretch bands, which a good physical therapist will provide for you. If you don’t have a physical therapist, you can also buy the bands online.

To do the stretch, sit on the floor and extend your legs straight in front of you with your feet relaxed. Wrap a band around one foot, placing it at the ball of your foot. Pull the band gently until almost all of your foot has moved up off the floor, leaving just the back of the ball of your foot still touching the ground. Hold it for 30 seconds before repeating on your other calf. 

Don’t stretch your calf too hard. Only pull on the band until you feel a gentle pulling sensation on your calf muscles. If it hurts, stop straight away and check that you’re doing the exercise correctly with a physical therapist. 

Hamstring Stretch

This hamstring stretch in physical therapy is very popular. It can help strengthen your knee and relieve tight muscles in your legs, providing a huge hit of relief. It’s so easy to do, too!

Start by sitting on the floor, putting your legs out straight in front of you with your toes pointing to the ceiling. Then, reach out your arms to your feet, bending at the waist and moving as far as possible. Hold the position for around 20 seconds before relaxing, and then repeat it five times. 

As physical therapy knee stretches go, this is very easy and one that you should get better over time. Don’t push yourself too hard on the first go, your flexibility will improve!

Lying Knee Twist

Here’s another one for your back! The lying knee twist is great for building up strength in your abdomen and the muscles along your spine. It also improves flexibility in your back, helping you move without pain. 

Lay down on your back on the floor, laying with your legs out straight and your arms at your sides. Then, bring your right knee up and place your foot on the floor. Slowly bend that knee over your body, lifting your foot off the floor so that just your toes remain on the ground. 

Your arms should remain at your sides during this stretch, but your other leg should rotate with you in the direction you’re going in. Your lower back will also lift off the floor as you twist to the side. Hold the position for around 20-30 seconds before relaxing, and repeat three times for each side.

Pendulum Swing Stretch

If you’re looking for shoulder physical therapy exercises, this is a great one to help improve motion and relieve pain. All you need is a flat surface to lean your other arm on and you’re good to go!

Start by relaxing your shoulders completely. Lean over slightly at the hip, moving your legs if needed to make the position more comfortable. Place one hand on a hard surface for balance, whilst the other arm hangs down loosely. 

Gently swing your arm in a circle, aiming for a diameter of about one foot. Swing in one direction for 10 circles, before switching to the opposite direction. It’s easy and effective!

Try Out Physical Therapy Stretches

If you’re having aches and pains in your body, whether it’s a throbbing ache in your lower back or stiffness in your knee, physical therapy stretches should help. However, the best way to treat the problem is by seeing a professional physical therapist. They can help identify the cause of the problem and treat it, letting you get back to your life. 

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