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In this article, I'm going to share some different types of stretching techniques that will really help with flexibility, range of motion, and overall movement. Not only will these types of stretches help with pain and tension, but they can also improve your quality of sleep. I want to start by sharing my three rules for stretching.
In this article:-
- 3 Rules for Stretching
- How to Stretch your Neck?
- How to Fix Shoulder Pain?
- How to Fix Poor Posture
- How to Fix Poor Sleep
- How to Fix Low Back Pain
- How to Fix Tight Hamstrings
My 3 Rules For Stretching
Rule #1 - Never stretch a damaged muscle. Damaged muscles often have scar tissue, and this will cause the muscle to come right back into the same form, similar to stretching out a rubber band. In fact, stretching the muscle can make the muscle tighter and make your problems worse. If a certain movement hurts, don't try stretching in that direction.
Rule #2 - Always stretch the opposite muscle. Stretching the muscle that is tense or in pain just doesn't work. You may spend hours, weeks, or months working on a muscle and see no improvement in range of motion or flexibility. That's because you always have work on the opposite muscle to relieve tension.
Rule #3 - Find the stress. Stress gets stuck in the body. It especially accumulates in areas of old injury and trauma. If you’ve ever broken a bone, sprained an ankle, had whiplash, or undergone a surgery, you may feel increased tension in those areas. Find out where you have stress and tension so you can begin release that tension.
How to Stretch Your Neck
If you're having neck pain, I'm going to explain how you can get relief by doing a simple stretch. The first thing you need to do is figure out if the majority of the pain is coming from moving your head up towards the ceiling, down towards the ground, to your right, to your left, ear to your right shoulder, or ear to your left shoulder.
Move your neck around for a moment to figure that out. Then, you want to begin by stretching your neck in the opposite direction. For instance, if you have pain when you look up, you should stretch your neck downward.
This stretch works best when you do it in short bursts. Static stretching (holding the stretch for a long time) doesn't work as well in this case. Stretch your neck for a few seconds and release it.
Repeat this hold-relax technique about 7 times. If you have pain both when looking up and when looking down, start with the direction that causes you the most pain, and then repeat the stretch in the opposite direction. You want to do this technique slowly and smoothly—you shouldn't be bouncing your head.
As a bonus, you can place your hands just underneath your clavicle on each side of your chest and apply pressure. This is a form of acupressure that can help relieve tension in the neck.
You may notice that you have improved flexibility, a better range of motion, and smoother movement after just one set of neck stretches. You can continue stretching throughout the day as you experience pain and muscle tension.
How to Fix Shoulder Pain
Left shoulder pain - It's important to note that left shoulder pain can be related to the heart. If you aren't getting enough sleep, your heart can become exhausted, and this can cause tension to the upper left back and left shoulder area.
Right shoulder pain - Right shoulder pain is most often a problem with the gallbladder. There's a nerve that runs from your gallbladder straight up to your right shoulder and neck area. If you have a sluggish or congested gallbladder, this can cause a lot of pain in the shoulder. This is also known as referred pain.
Combining carbohydrates, sugar, and fat can really bog down the gallbladder. I recommend cutting back on these, especially if you had your gallbladder removed.
Digestive pain in shoulders - Pain in both shoulder blades is often an issue with digestion. Congestion in the digestive tract can cause pain in both shoulder blades. If you also have issues with feeling bloated after you eat, this is a sign you have digestive congestion.
What you can do to help this problem is to massage the stomach. I recommend you apply a small amount of pressure to your stomach and massage that area for a few minutes. This should relieve any deferred shoulder pain.
Tension pain in shoulders - If the shoulder pain isn't from digestion, it could be tension in your traps. Now, remember that rule #2 is to stretch the opposing muscle. What opposes your traps? Your lats. You can stretch your lats by grabbing onto something high up and hanging for a moment.
You can also sit in a chair, lock your elbows on the seat, and begin to move your butt off of the seat while keeping your body lifted with your locked elbows. This type of static stretching should help with shoulder pain and flexibility on both sides.
How to Fix Poor Posture
What did your parents tell you to do when you were slouching? Sit up straight, right? Well, this happens to be bad advice. Instead, you want to slouch over even more to stretch your muscles.
Slouch over as far as you can—you want to curve your back to make a hunch back. Then, sit straight again. Repeat this dynamic stretch 10 times. You should immediately find that your posture is better, and you experience less tension when sitting straight.
How to Fix Poor Sleep
If you have a hard time getting to sleep or staying asleep, this is often a problem of being in what's called "fight or flight" mode. Fight or flight is when you have a lot of stress in your nervous system, which can cause massive amounts of tension throughout the body, especially the back and neck. This leads to serious sleep problems. If you notice that you have no patients, a low tolerance to stress, and people get on your nerves frequently, you have a problem with fight or flight mode.
Though you'll feel it more in your neck, fight or flight takes place in your mid-back. You can help relieve this by using a foam roller to stretch your mid back area. Try placing a foam roller behind your mid back while sitting in a chair. Then slowly lean back and hold for a few moments—this is a static technique. Keep in mind that this will also take a lot of stress off of the heart because your nervous system connects with the heart.
How to Fix Low Back Pain
How can you fix pain in your lower back? I'm talking about if you have pain or tension when you move side-to-side or bend over. Just like with any other muscle, we have to find the opposing muscle and massage it.
The opposing muscle to your low back is your lower abdomen or stomach area. Feel around in your lower abdomen until you feel some tenderness or tension. Then, you want to apply pressure to that area for about one minute. This should relieve pain in your lower back and increase your flexibility.
How to Fix Tight Hamstrings
If your hamstrings are tight, there's a simple stretching technique you can do to improve your flexibility and range of motion. Again, you want to focus on the opposite muscle. The opposite muscles you want to stretch are your quadriceps.
You can stretch your quads by standing up and holding one leg behind you with your hand on your ankle. You can stabilize your balance by using your other hand to hold onto a steady chair or table.
Stretch your quadricep for a few seconds and then relax it—this shouldn't be a static form of stretch. Do this hold-relax technique 5 times in a row. After a week of doing this technique, you should see increased flexibility in these tendons.
If you have tight quadriceps along with tight hamstrings, the problem is most often related to nutrition. I recommend increasing your potassium by consuming 7-10 vegetables a day. You should also increase your calcium by consuming organic cheese.
Give these stretches a try and see how they work for you.
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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.