Doing these 3 simple stretches? You should be!

Doing these 3 simple stretches? You should be!

If you’re reading this article at your desk, be sure to stand up and stretch the minute you are done. You see, humans aren’t supposed to sit at a computer for 12 hours a day. We often joke with our chiropractic patients about wanting to create a “Paleolithic daily regiment” like the Paleolithic diet. Imagine a bunch of our early ancestors crouched over a fire. For at least part of the day it would look like a kindergarten classroom picking up a box of spilled crayons. Everyone would appear to be in a squat position.
What would our day look like if we didn’t use chairs? Or better yet, what would your day feel like?
Here are three stretches that isolate the muscles that take the worst punishment when you’ve been grinding it out on the computer.
Iliopsoas/ Hip flexor
The iliopsoas muscle, also referred to as the hip flexor as its main job is to flex the hip, is actually two muscles joined together. One half, the psoas muscle, looks like your bicep and attaches your lower spine and rib cage to the front of your hip. The other half, the iliacus, lines your pelvis in the shape of a hand-held fan and blends fibers into the psoas as it attaches. Together, these two muscles move your leg back under your body after it pushes back while walking or running. Because our culture is somewhat sedentary, these muscles doesn’t get used as much as they should. Hip flexors will shorten with prolonged sitting and worse yet, shorten at uneven intervals contributing to pelvic misalignments.
To keep hip flexors long and strong, use this stretch. (doesn’t show arm) Kneel on your right knee with your left knee at 90 degrees in front of you. Move your hips forward so your left knee moves forward of your toes. Lean back at the waist and raise your left arm up and over your right ear. You are doing it right if you feel a stretch at the top of your left thigh. Hold for 20 seconds and then repeat on the opposite side.
OR https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3caDsbWMxw (talk about 4 muscles, not two)
Scalene/neck muscles
The scalene muscles are the group of muscles on top of your cervical vertebrae that lie deep inside your neck. They help to flex and bend your neck, but also create stabilization. In our Orlando office, we see patients who have lost or are losing the curvature of their cervical spine due to poor posture over time. This tightens the scalene muscles and can cause small areas of inflammation and spasms called trigger points to develop. To keep these muscles loose, do this one simple stretch. It is also important to provide some sort of traction for your neck. Refer to Dr. Merrill’s top 5 fast facts and health hacks to see how you can use a regular water bottle to relieve neck pain.
Piriformis muscle
The piriformis muscle is a small band of muscle that lies underneath your gluteus muscles and attaches to your hip. It allows you to turn your toes outward (think using the pedals in your car) and assists with walking. Just as with the iliopsoas muscle or hip flexor, this muscle is not designed to be compressed by sitting in a chair all day. When inflamed, it can create terrible pain. One of the many ways to get sciatica is when this muscle begins to compress nerves, also known as piriformis syndrome. One very simple way to lengthen this muscle and potentially decompress the sciatic nerve is the pigeon pose in yoga. Be careful when doing this stretch as 1 in 6 people can make their piriformis symptoms worse due to an anatomical variation which puts the sciatic nerve right through the piriformis muscle.
Remember to stretch daily for roughly one minute per muscle group, and never first thing in the morning. If stretching doesn’t provide relief, consider scheduling an appointment with one of our staff members who can help identify the source of your pain. And if you’re working late, that’s okay too. We are open late, so give us a call at (407)982-7733 so we can help get you moving again.