Patients in chronic pain often don’t know that the simple act of stretching every day can reduce their pain. There have been studies that found a combination of strengthening and stretching specific muscle groups can reduce musculoskeletal pain and encourage proper alignment. Stretching feels good because it activates your parasympathetic nervous system and increases blood flow to your muscles. It’s thought that stretching may also release endorphins which help to reduce pain and make you feel better.

So why don’t more people stretch if it’s so beneficial? One reason may be that they don’t know what to do. There are a few very simple stretches that we recommend you start with. I do each of these stretches every night before I go to bed.

Start kneeling on one knee with the other leg at a 90 degree angle. Place a fist in the lower of your back.
Now simply push forward, straightening the back leg. You will feel a stretch in your hip flexor. Hold for about 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
In this stretch you do the same thing as before, except you grab your foot and stretch the quadricep as you are stretching the hip. Hold this for 30 seconds on each side as well.
Lay flat on your back in a comfortable, flat place.
Take your left hand and grab the right knee. Pull it across your body towards your shoulder. This will stretch your SI joint and lower back. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat for the other side.
Now do the same stretch, but pull the knee straight across (not toward the shoulder). This will stretch a different area of your back. Hold for 30 seconds on each side. You can do a 3rd time, pushing the knee toward your feet. Each stretch targets a different part of the back which are usually very tight.
For this stretch, lay on your back and grab your elbows.
Now, hold your elbows above your head and lay there for 1-2 minutes. Don’t do this on your bed. It’s too soft. After a minute or two, let go of your elbows and let them relax above your head for about a minute.

Our video shows these stretches and 2 others that you can do with a Lacrosse ball. You can find lacrosse balls just about anywhere, but they are also included for free in the Pain Paks on our sister website, Check them out!

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