Amid the COVID-19 turmoil, it’s hard to keep perspective and stay focused on your own self-care. When massage and acupuncture clinics are closed, you may be missing out on the essential routines of keeping your body health and happy. That’s why Good Medicine put together this list of stretches we most commonly recommend to our patients. Hopefully, it will give you some reprieve!

Stretches for Common Pain

The most highly reported pain at our clinic is for back, hip, wrist, and shoulder pain.

The most likely reason someone would be experiencing recurring pain in these areas is due to repetitive strain or stress. The most likely culprit? Your job.

Sitting for long periods at an office job, doing repetitive motions such as checking groceries, or overexerting yourself on a construction site.

Not tending to these minor injuries results in chronic or even life-long pain. Here are a few tips to reducing your pain and relieving stress.

Counter Stretch

If you find that you are working a job or performing a sport that has you repeating certain motions, it’s very valuable to schedule yourself out some counter stretches.

Neck Strengthening

Some of us suffer from military neck, especially if you tend to pull your shoulders forward. The result is a neck that juts forward. This can have dramatic effects on spinal health.

An example of the forward movement of the head. Not properly aligned with the spine.

“One rule of thumb is that for every inch that the head is held forward in poor posture, an additional 10 pounds of weight is felt on the cervical spine.”

In order to counter this, try out this strengthening pose. It’s very simple.

  1. Stand with your back against the wall.
  2. Bring your head back. This may require you to tuck your chin slightly.
  3. Bring your shoulders down, away from your ears. Try to relax them as best as you an.
  4. Relax your neck back to normal position.
  5. Repeat this at least 10 times a day.
Bring the head back to the wall to feel the muscles strengthen which support the neck.

Upper Back Release

If you find yourself hunched over for most of the day, this upper back stretch may help release and strengthen the muscles that support proper posture.

  1. Stand an arms distance away from the wall.
  2. Slide your hands up the wall and bring your chest as close as possible while looking upwards.
  3. Try to keep your hips where they started and your legs straight/upright.
  4. Do not lean with your hips. This motion should be hinged from the hips with the stretch coming from the back.
  5. If you need to go deeper, take a step back and slide your hands down lower.

Nerve Reset

The following stretch can, admittedly, be very intense. Despite my somewhat serene look here, I kinda love/hate this stretch. It creates a radiating pressure down the arm. This did help me tremendously with my wrist and forearm pain. Here’s how it works:

  1. Bring your hand directly out in front of you (palm up flat with verticle fingers), either standing or sitting comfortably.
  2. Draw your arm out to the side, trying to keep it level with your shoulder.
  3. Create small circles with your palm. Experiment with this to find your delicate spot, then work through it.
  4. To add to this stretch, place your hand on your head and draw your neck away from your arm. This is a very gentle movement and shouldn’t involve too much pressure.

Chest Stretch

This is another good counter stretch for people who tend to pull inwards. Repetitive injuries often come from people training their bodies to move in one direction. For example, a boxer tends to huddle forward and overwork the muscles that pull the arms forward. Likewise, a construction worker may find that they overwork their back muscles but don’t balance their chest. Imbalances are the most likely culprit for your injuries so remember to counter and stretching or exercise.

Here’s a good stretch to open the chest muscles:

  1. Stand against a wall edge with your palm flat on the wall.
  2. Keep your arm in line with your shoulder.
  3. Very gently turn your chest away from your arm.
  4. You should feel a stretch in the upper chest and shoulder.
  5. Hold for 15 seconds, release, repeat.

Tree Pose

Tree pose is a beautiful pose that can greatly improve your balance, core strength, and hip balance. It involves a little bit of focus and patience. There are several variations, three of which are shown below.

Start by bringing your foot to your ankle. You can place your hands in prayer pose, though there are also several variations for your arms.

If you’re comfortable, bring your foot up to your knee, then to your inner thigh. You may need to give it a little assistance to get up that high.

It is very helpful to choose a spot to focus on during this pose.

If you still don’t find this challenging enough (good for you!) then try it on a BAPs board.

Hip Relief

Speaking of hips, sitting all day can absolutely kill your hips. Try out this simple stretch to give your piriformis and gluteus medius muscles some much-needed relief.

  1. Sit cross-legged on the floor.
  2. Draw on of your knees to rest on top of the other.
  3. You should feel the stretch in the region outlined by my hands below.

Happy Baby Pose

What a silly, wonderful hip stretching pose. This will target the inner thighs.

  1. Lay on your back and bring your knees to your chest.
  2. Reach up and grab both of your big toe with each respective hand.
  3. Draw your legs back and out to the side of your chest.
  4. Pull down with your hands to intensify the stretch.
  5. Feel free to rock back and forth like a happy baby!

Wrist Pain Relief

Wrists are so delicate and yet put up with so much! It’s helpful to give them a good stretch sometimes to relieve tension.

  1. In this stretch, you place both hands on the floor out in front of you while on all fours.
  2. Point your fingers back toward you.
  3. Gently bring your elbow back toward your knee while keeping your fingers firmly planted on the ground.
  4. You will feel a stretch up the inner arm and in the wrist.

We hope you found these stretches helpful! Be sure to bookmark this page as a resource for you later. Have a common pain we might be able to help with? Send us an email and let us know what you struggle with!