by Dr. Rachel Lys, DPT
A Partner Stretch to Try
One of the many things a physical therapist can do for a patient revolves around improving active range of motion in a joint. This is often considered a gain in flexibility. Physical therapists are educated and consistently trained in ways to safely stretch a patient. However if you have a partner you trust in this month’s column I am going to describe a stretch technique to help ease discomfort in achy backs and hips.
The Assisted Easy Seated Stretch will stretch your hips, inner thighs and back muscles. Please do not attempt this stretch if you have difficulty getting up and down from the floor, or if you have any knee or low back injuries that you have not sought medical advice for first.
How to perform:
1. Partner one will take a seat on the floor with crossed legs at the ankles. Partner two will sit roughly two feet away, directly in front of partner one.
2. Partner two will place the ball mounds of their feet on partner one’s shins. Partner one will feel a stretch in the outside of their hips and in the sides of their body from armpit to hip. Partner two’s legs will be slightly bent. Partner two will also draw their belly button toward the spine, and lift their chest up to the sky to keep their abdominals engaged throughout the stretch. Both partners reach for the other’s wrists. Then, partner two will gently lean back as partner one folds forward. Partner one will keep their sit bones on the floor, belly drawn toward the spine and should attempt to have a flat upper back.
Tip: lead with the chest when folding. This will keep the low back in a safe position. If you round your back like a turtle this will put too much strain on the low back.
3. As always, communicate with your partner to make sure the stretch is at a tolerable level. Stay in this position for 30 seconds, then slowly release and switch roles so partner two gets a turn! Perform this stretch for 5 repetitions in order to achieve a gain in flexibility which will contribute to making a functional improvement in your daily routine.
Patients who have performed the assisted easy seated stretch feel less discomfort while performing typical daily routines like washing dishes and putting away groceries. Keeping the spine supple is key to avoiding many typical aliments associated with the aging body. If you prefer to see this partner stretch performed in person feel free to stop by East Hampton Physical Therapy for a demonstration. Until then happy stretching and Be Well!
As always, yours in Healing,
Dr. Rachel Lys, DPT
631-668-7600 – EastHamptonPhysicalTherapy.com