Improve your Range of Motion

If you are stressed and desire overall body health (who’s not, and who doesn’t?), my best recommendation is a daily spinal maintenance stretching routine.  Just like we brush our teeth at least twice daily for decay prevention and oral health, our spine and the nervous system it protects need daily attention for optimal health and function.

Position 1

Begin standing in the anatomical position (position 1).  Inhale through the nose for a count of 4.  Hold breath in for a count of 4.  Release through the mouth for a count of 8. This is what I consider a “Therapeutic Breath” (TB).  Practice full lung and diaphragmatic expansion.

Repeat the TB.  While exhaling, swan dive to forward flexion, reaching your arms towards the floor while bending your torso forward and keeping your knees straight.  Take 2 more TB’s and upon exhaling the 2nd TB, reverse swan dive up returning to position 1.

Take 2 TB’s and upon exhaling the 2nd TB, move your full spine into extension*.  With an open mouth your neck will be better able to extend creating a “C” shape from your head to your tailbone.  Your arms are to your side.  Take 2 more TB’s and return to position 1 upon the 2nd exhale.

*Occasionally, I have some complaints of dizziness with full spine extension.  Usually this is short lived and abates with exhaling and consistency.  You will want to be near something to hold on to the first couple of times you perform the routine to assist with any lapse in balance.

In position 1, take 2 TB’s and on the 2nd exhale move into right lateral flexion (a “C” position to the right) with your left arm raised high to the sky and your right arm reaching to the floor.  Your right ear should be leaning toward your right shoulder and your left hip “kicked” out.  Take 2 TB’s and return to position 1 during the 2nd exhale.

Repeat with left lateral flexion.

In position 1, take 2 TB’s and move into right rotation during the 2nd exhale.  In right rotation you should start twisting at the tailbone up to the head letting your head follow your shoulders.  I have my knuckles together with my arms up in front of my chest bone for this movement.  Take 2 TB’s and return to position 1.

Repeat with left rotation.

In position 1, take 2 more TB’s and your finished!  It takes about 10 minutes and will really improve your day.

This routine should be done 1st thing in the AM and last thing before going to bed.  In the AM, your brain will respond by readying your body for an active day (mentally and physically) and loosening any stiff joints and muscles.  At night, the routine will relax you, help you achieve REM sleep faster, and help you wake up refreshed and feeling good.

Spinal movement is similar to a kinetic flashlight.  Without proper spinal movement, brain function suffers.  Your brain actually gets recharged from mechano-receptors within each vertebrae firing by motion.  This is a major component of the dysfunction that results from vertebral subluxation.

Some things to keep in mind while performing the routine:

  • All end ranges of motion (except rotation) should resemble a “C” position from the tailbone to the head.
  • Refrain from moving your spine in more than one plane of motion (i.e. if you are bending don’t twist at the same time).
  • Although this is spinal range of motion, nearly every muscle in your body is activated and stretched when preformed properly.

    This routine is great for the whole family!

    This routine is great for the whole family!

  • There is a correct posture and incorrect posture for every end range.  Frequent “posture checks” will ensure you are in the proper position.
  • With consistency, your range of motion will improve.
  • When stressed, our breathing becomes shallow.  Therapeutic Breathing can be done without range of motion as well.  I recommend it in stressful situations to improve thought clarity, recall, and decrease anxiety.

As you become more advanced:

  • Closing your eyes will help challenge/improve balance.
  • Increase the time of your Therapeutic Breath keeping the same 1:1:2 ratio.
  • Embrace the sensation of involving every ounce of your body.
  • During your AM stretching, try contracting all of the shortened muscles during inhalation and relaxing the same muscles during exhalation.  (while static at the end ranges of all 6 motions)

Life is all about consistency.  You will either reap the rewards of doing positive activities consistently, or face the consequences of repeatedly doing negative activities.For more information, or to schedule a spinal check-up with Dr. Osborne call 512-255-9711

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One thought on “Improve your Range of Motion

  1. Pingback: Sports Recovery Treatment | Osborne Family Chiropractic & Wellness

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