Arthritis does not prevent you from stretching your joints, knees, hands, or body muscles. One of the good ways to treat arthritis at home is by stretching. There are lots of results revealing that stretching the muscle and joint can help to alleviate arthritis pain and morning stiffness. Arthritis patients who practice stretching their legs, joints, and knees experience less pain than patients who does not. Irrespective of the type of arthritis you are suffering from, stretching is among the best ways to take care of it. There are different ways an arthritis patient can practice stretching his or her body, these different ways include:
Standing Quadriceps Stretch
This is one of the simplest exercises for anyone who is suffering from arthritis. To do this:
- Stand beside a wall and rest your left hand on the wall. Next, bend your right knees so that it would be easy for you to lift your foot up.
- Next, reach behind you with your right hand and grab your ankles. Without stressing your ankle, pull it up and back slowly. Ensure that your ankle does not touch your buttock when stretching it.
- Relax after the first practice before doing the same with the second leg.
- Do this exercise for at least 10 minutes but ensure you rest at intervals.
Calf stretch is another great exercise for arthritis patients. Constantly practicing this exercise helps to relieve the pain in the joint and avoid earthly morning stiffness. To do calf stretch:
- Stand facing the wall, but ensure that the space between you and the wall is at least two paces away. Next, place your two hands on the wall.
- Take a step forward with your right foot while keeping your left leg straight and extended backward.
- Next, try to lean forward until you can feel the pull at the back of your left calf. Keep yourself in this position for at least 10 seconds. Repeat this process three times for each leg.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Hip Flexor is also a very great stretching exercise for arthritis patients. To do this:
- Knee with both feet on the floor. Your knee should be bent on the floor and your right shin should be positioned in such a way that it is flat on the floor and further back than your shoulders.
- Place your hands on your right knees as if you are resting them on it. Keep your back straight and try to lean a big forward. However, ensure that you don’t lean more than the end of your toes. Try these exercises for each leg and hold yourself in this position for at least 20 seconds.
Forward folds are a knee and leg exercise. This exercise is designed to strengthen the bone muscle and allow easy flow of blood in the body joints. To get started with this exercise:
- Stand with your knee shoulder widely apart. Next, try to bend forward from your waist. While trying this ensures not to bounce and keep your legs as straight as you can.
- This exercise is best performed if you can reach the floor, however, if you can’t, there is no need to worry. With regular practice, you would be able to do the exercise. Hold yourself in this position for at least 3 seconds.
Stretch Your Shoulders, And Arm Muscles
- Stand the same way you would when doing any of the legs and knee exercises explained above. Clash your hand together behind your back. While doing this, ensure that your back is as straight as possible.
- Next, roll your shoulders down and back. Repeat this exercise consistently. For at least 10 mins.
- Ensure to relax at the end of each rolling for the first few seconds and repeat the exercise until it is up to 10 mins.
Things To Avoid While Practicing Stretching Exercise
Although stretching is a good exercise for arthritis patients, this might not yield any result when done the wrong way. Some of the caution to avoid when practicing any of the stretching exercises include:
Do Not Stretch A Cold Muscle
Amy Ashmore, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise states that stretching exercise should only be performed after a five to ten minutes warm-up exercise. Stretching a cold muscle can intensify pain and make the exercise very difficult to practice.
Use Dynamic Stretching Exercise To Warm-up
Dynamic stretching exercises include the different types of warm-ups often used by sports players. Practicing dynamic exercise before starting any of the stretching exercises help to improve blood flow and enhance the temperature of the body muscles and joints. Dynamic exercise also makes it easy to move the body. Some of the dynamic exercises that can be practiced as warm-ups include:
- Tennis players’ warm-up exercises. This exercise includes side and front lunges. Tennis players use this as a way of practicing how to reach for the ball.
Before starting any of the stretching exercises, try the tennis player warm-ups for at least five minutes.
- Walk around your surrounding for at least 10 minutes. However, start at a very slow pace and subsequently pick up your pace as you progress.
- Practice squatting as your warm-up exercise. You can start with a half squat or full squat. Do this until you are thoroughly warm up and ready for the stretching exercise.
- Practice the warm-ups used by footballers. These include jogging, kicking, and squatting. Do this for at least 5 minutes before starting your main exercise.
- After practicing any of these warm-ups, proceed to the main stretching exercises.
Discomfort Is Inevitable
If you are new to the stretching exercise, be prepared to experience some discomfort while practicing it. However, it is advisable that during stretching exercise, do not stretch to the point of pain, only stretch yourself to a point of mild tension. If after the exercise you are experiencing some pain, this is very normal. But if the pain should exceed 2 hours, then try reducing the duration of each exercise. When stretching becomes an easy feat for you, you can increase the time.
It is noteworthy that before stretching, consult your doctor. The doctor understands your health and knows the best way to calm you.