Stretching Exercises Relieve Arthritis Pain

Stretching is well known for keeping joints and muscles flexible and has been found to be effective in relieving pain caused by arthritis. Stretching exercises are also good for preventing osteoarthritis in joints that do not have arthritis. Stretching the muscles relieves the pressure and tension on the joints, hip or back which in turn helps lessen the pain.
Stretching exercises are not time consuming and they do not require special equipment, just a chair, a towel and loose clothing.

General Instructions for Stretching
• Hold each stretch for 30-45 seconds
• Control your breathing keeping it deep and regular
• Never bounce into a stretch
• Start by stretching once a day and build up to twice a day for maximum pain relief
• Never stretch to the point of pain. Stretching may be uncomfortable but if it hurts, back off a little

Neck Exercises
Arthritis in the neck can cause symptoms anywhere in the body as all the nerves pass through the spinal cord in the neck. Sit up straight and turn your head to the left. Take your right hand and push your head a little further round. Hold and breath for 30 seconds then repeat to the right to stretch the muscles on either side of the neck

Lower Back Stretches
Get down on the floor on your hands and knees, hands shoulder-width apart and knees slightly apart. Arch your back and tuck your head inwards. Your hips will naturally tilt forward. Hold and breathe then relax and repeat. This exercise removes pressure from the discs and opens the space between the vertebrae.
Another good stretch for the hips and low back is to sit on the floor with your legs out straight, slightly apart. Rest your hands on your head and slowly bend forward and try to get your forehead close to the floor. Hold and breathe then sit up and repeat.

Spine Stretching
Sit on the floor with legs bent to either side. Put the soles of your feet together and lower the knees as far as you can. Grip the ankles and lean forward from the hips to hold the stretch, keeping the spine straight not curved. Hold for 30-45 seconds to lengthen the inner thigh muscles and increase flexibility in the hips and groin.

Leg-Stretching
Tight hamstrings can be a cause of low back pain so stretching the legs with this simple exercise will ease the pain. Sit on the floor with your left leg straight out and your right leg bent out to the side. Loop a towel around the left foot and hold both ends. Pull on the towel and push the leg against it until you feel the stretch in the back of the left leg. Hold and breathe then repeat on the other leg.

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