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Occupational Therapist Nancy stretching hamstring with yoga strap

Stretching for health

Studies have foune that stretching improves joint range of motion (flexibility), decreases muscle tension, improves circulation, relieves muscle pain, prevents injury, and improves athletic performance (Nakaruma et al., 2015; Avela et al., 1999; Suzuki, 2005). Stretching the legs can allieviate low back, hip, and pelvic pain.

Here's a New Year's Stretching routine to get started. Please consult with your doctor or a rehabilitation therapist before beginning any exercise routines.

Tools Needed

  • Yoga strap, dog leash, or robe strap
  • A comfortable place to lay down (yoga mat or blanket)

Hamstrings Stretch

Strap S ABD

Start laying on your back with your feet on the floor. Lift one foot off the ground and loop the strap around the ball of the foot. Relax low back and shoulders. With leg straight and relaxed on, use your hands to walk up strap and raise leg up into a stretch. Keep knee soft, NOT Locked. Only raise leg as far as you can keep your bottom and low back flat on floor or bed. Stretch for 30 seconds - 1 minute, and repeat 2-3x on each side.

Adductor Stretch

Strap S ADD

Begin by lying down comfortably on floor with both knees bent and feet on floor. Relax low back and shoulders. Loop strap around the ball of the foot. Begin with the hamstring stretch (ABOVE) and slowly swing the leg out to side, using arms for control and stability. Keep knee soft, NOT Locked. Keep your other knee bent and allow it to fall out to the other side if needed to keep back flat on bed/floor. Stretch for 30 seconds - 1 minute, and repeat 2-3x on each side.

Abductor Stretch

Strap S ABD

Begin by lying down comfortably on floor or bed with both knees bent and feet on the floor. Relax low back and shoulders. Relax low back and shoulders. Loop strap around the ball of the foot. Begin with the hamstring stretch (ABOVE) and slowly swing the leg across the body, across midline to the opposite side. Use arms for control and stability. Keep knee soft, NOT locked. Stretch for 30 seconds - 1 minute, and repeat 2-3x on each side.

Piriformis Stretch

strap stretch Pir

Begin by lying down comfortably on floor or bed with one knee bent and foot on floor/bed and other foot resting on opposite knee. Strap or hands are wrapped around bottom knee. Relax low back and shoulders. Gently bring both arms to bring bottom knee to chest to stretch opposite glute/hip. Keep shoulders relaxed and keep back flat on bed/floor hips even. Stretch for 30 seconds - 1 minute, and repeat 2-3x on each side.

Please consult with your doctor or a physical therapist for an individualized session and exercises.

Give us a call to make an appointment today.

Resources

Nakamura K, Kodama T, Mukaino Y. Effects of active individual muscle stretching on muscle function. J Phys Ther Sci. 2014;26(3):341-344. doi:10.1589/jpts.26.341

Avela J, Kyrolainen H, Komi PV: Altered reflex sensitivity after repeated and prolonged passive muscle stretching. J Appl Physiol, 1999, 86: 1283–1291 [PubMed]

Suzuki S: Testing of the effects of physical therapy on myofascial pain by imaging. J Jpn Phys Ther Assoc, 2005, 32: 32–33 []

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What Our Patients Have to Say

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Testimonial by R.M., Age 40

I can’t speak highly enough of the theapists at Femina Physical Therapy and how much they have helped me grow, discover, and love my body. I had had painful sex for my entire life, and didn’t know that there was anything that could be done about it. It was at the point where my husband and I were not having sex for MONTHs, because it was just too frustrating, and I hated feeling like I was the ONLY woman out there who had this problem, especially at my age. I finally brought it up to my doctor because I was turning 40 and my husband and I were barely having enough sex to conceive. And she brought up pelvic floor, PT. I didn’t even know this was a “thing”.

Read more: Testimonial by R.M., Age 40

Testimonial by R.H.

No one could tell me why I was having pain during sex--sharp pain, not just uncomfortable, pain. I was referred to Heather Jeffcoat after researching several different options. I had seen a specialist who told me physical therapy would not help and my only option was surgery. I really didn't want to go that route, so when we got a referral, I decided to try it--it can't hurt, I thought. I am so glad I did. She diagnosed the problem right away, which was a relief in itself.

To know why I was having pain eased my mind immensely. And to hear that she could fix it without surgery was another relief. She said she could fix the problem in 6 weeks. I think it was actually 4 for me. She was very methodical, and treated me as an intelligent human being capable of participating in my own recovery. I would absolutely recommend her to anyone. She did not try to prolong my session numbers, she worked hard to accommodate my schedule (and the fact that I had to bring a baby to sessions), and she was completely honest the entire time. It is so hard to find someone with these characteristics, much less a professional who is so good at what she does. She has my highest respect.

-- R.H.

Testimonial by Rosanna R., age 35

Heather has affected my life in the MOST POSITIVE way and I am forever grateful. My husband refers to her as the "sex doctor" so you can only imagine how happy he is with my therapy outcome.

After the birth of my son I suffered from "Vaginismus", however, at the time I just thought I was broken. My "broken vagina" affected me physically but it was an emotional struggle as well. Many women in my life also suffered with pain from sex after their babies were born so I knew I wasn't alone. They told me they "just got used to it" but I couldn't see myself living that way.

Sex wasn't just painful, it was literally impossible - IT DIDNT FIT!

Read more: Testimonial by Rosanna R.,...

Testimonial by P.M.

I was hopeful but frankly skeptical when the doctor treating me for Interstitial Cystitis recommended that I go to Heather for physical therapy. Medication and diet helped control my IC symptoms, but I had never heard of physical therapy being used to treat IC. The education and treatment I received from Heather was a revelation. She explained that the pain I experienced with IC had helped create a cycle of muscle guarding which affected the entire pelvic area. I had no idea of the amount of tension being held there. No wonder my husband and I had not been able to have sexual intercourse for years!

Read more: Testimonial by P.M.

Testimonial by A.W., age 32

I wanted to let you know that my pelvic floor held strong and gave me no trouble whatsoever in my trail race this morning (12 miles)! In a way, I felt like I ran better than ever because my core feels so rock solid from all the exercises you have me doing. That was especially valuable on the technical downhill - I just flew down the trail because I had confidence in my balance and form. Thank you for helping me get back to doing what I love.

-- A.W., age 32
(completed Post-partum Renewal Program using the InTone biofeedback/stim unit)

Testimonial by Julie T.

Femina PT (née Fusion Wellness & Physical Therapy) has honestly changed my life. Before receiving treatment at Femina, I was going doctor to doctor to try and find the answer to my pelvic pain. It has taken me YEARS to find someone that can help fix this. It wasn't until my gynecologist recommended your clinic that I finally felt relief. My pelvic pain is almost gone, and granted I still have a lot more to work on with Laureen (my PT), my original problem is nearly cured. I am so grateful to her.

What is even better is she gave me practical exercises to do at home that were not tedious and provided instant (and lasting) relief. Although I mainly work with Laureen, my interaction with the owner (Heather) has been great. She is very generous, kind, and committed to her business.

It hurts to know there are women out there suffering who will never know or have the opportunity to work with women like Laureen and Heather because this issue is hardly talked about and this field is so rare. I hope more doctors and physical therapists see the value in this work and can relieve more woman of their pain.

-- Julie T., 12/4/16 via Yelp!

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