Arthritis Stretches With Liz Pollock

Hi, my name is Liz Pollock. I’m here today to talk to you a little about arthritis, some prevention, some therapies, and just different ways to approach it.

So, if you’re ever looking at major arthritis within the feet, knees, or hips, you always wanna make sure that you’re doing some lower extremity stretching and some stability work. So here, I’ve got a dowel stick just in case your balance is a little bit of an issue. So, the first one is you’re gonna step one foot forward, alternating or staggering the feet. The weight’s gonna be on the back hip. You can prop the foot slightly. Make sure there’s a soft bend to the knees and the stick is there just for a little support. Keeping the chest tall, you’re gonna hinge forward at the hips, just bringing a gentle stretch to that hamstring and then you can pull the chest back up, and alternate between the two movements. Pausing here, take a few deep breaths, and then lifting the chest again.

Second thing. We wanna look at the IT band on the lateral side of the leg. So, you’re just gonna take the leg that you wanna stretch and you’re gonna bring it behind the opposite one. Make sure you could grab the foot to the back just bringing a soft bend into the front knee. Two options here, you can the right arm up towards the ceiling and reach over towards the left, just lengthening through the right side of the body. Option two, you can hinge forward at the hip a little bit, just integrating that hamstring and that IT band into a little bit more of a stretch.

Third thing, you wanna look at a little bit of stability training. So, here you wanna try to use the dowel as little as possible. So if you can take it right out of the picture, that’s the best situation. We’re gonna bring the foot forward, making sure that the knee stacks between the second and third toe. You’re just gonna lift the back leg. Try to find that stability and strength, holding there. Good. Try squeezing the glute if you need. Bring your hand on towards the hip, just kind of aid the muscles in activation. Good. Keep the core tight. If you need, you can always bring that back foot down, and just look for a little bit of shifting of the weight forward, and rocking back. If there’s too much pain in towards the knee. So, always modify, try to stay below that pain level, and enjoy.

Whenever we’re dealing with any lower back or SI arthritis or even in towards the hips, the morning can be a difficult time in terms of stiffness and soreness. What I always suggest is that before you get up in the morning, do a few stretches and try to increase blood flow, decrease pain levels before you really get out of bed. That can help a lot with those first few steps out of bed. So, whenever you wake up lying on your back, first thing is just bring the feet a little bit wider. Here, I say mat-width, but in your bed you’ll have to estimate. And then you’re just gonna bring the knees over to one side, just gently letting them drop externally and internally rotating. And then alternating sides, use your arms to push down if you need a little help activating the core. Good. Just finding a few rotations to each side.

Second thing, bring the feet together and just bring a little bit more rotation in towards the lumbar. At this point, you can bring the arms to the side just helping find that stretch and rotation, yet again doing a few rotations to each side.

Third, we’re gonna finish with another strengthening one. So arms coming back in towards the side. You wanna tuck the heel in with line with the sit bumps. From here, you’re gonna activate the core. So, you’re drawing the belly towards the spine, you’re not decreasing any space into that mat. So, no tilting into the mat just staying neutral here. You’re gonna think of squeezing your glutes. If you need a little assistance, bring the hands on towards the glutes and just help your body find those muscles. If you can, you’re gonna lift off the mat. You can either pause here, neutral, just keeping that core and glute engaged or you can lift right in towards the neutral bridge. Yet again, hold for a little bit of endurance and then as you lower, find that spinal ability. So, nice and slowly, let one vertebrae fall on towards the mat at a time. Good. Repeat a few time until you feel a little less stiffness and a little bit more pain relief.

Very often in therapy, we talk about preventative exercise and preventative measures. So here is just a really basic, but in my opinion what everyone could benefit from doing everyday in terms of just overall feeling better, moving better, and total core and spinal strength. So, first one is just a simple cat-camel. You get to see flexion and extension in every aspect to the spine and really just break down those movements. So, on your hands and knees. Make sure if there is any pain into the wrist you can always find a fist position or you can use an aid like the sort of hand rest or even yoga gloves if necessary. So here, in neutral position make sure that the knees are under the hips. You’re just gonna curl the toes, rotate the hips, legs into the chest. Use the strength of the shoulders to lift the neck. If there’s any pain into the neck you can always keep the spine neutral, the cervical spine neutral. If there’s no pain, you can find that range of motion. Going the other way, tops of the feet turn, tailbone tucks, shoulders push through, and the head relaxes. Good. Move between those two positions nice and safely, just finding that range of motion. Another nice, neutral position is just child pose. Knees go wide, toes together. Here, this is the joker version. So, we stack the fist and rest the forehead on top of the fist, just helping keep that cervical spine neutral. Good. Take a few deep breaths. It’s great decompression in towards the lower spine and then towards the hips.

Third thing is your strengthener. So here, just Bird Dog. Great. Keeping the spine neutral, drawing the belly in, the rib cage in, and the neck nice and long, we just lengthen through one side of the body, reaching through the other. Good. Just creating that cross curl pattern, lots of strength in towards the spine.

Whenever you’re dealing with arthritis into the shoulders, first thing in the morning, again, can be pretty difficult to move. So, I always suggest having a nice hot shower can help increase blood flow, and help sort of loosen those tissues and be able to move a little bit more freely. So, whenever you are in the shower is a good time to sort of check some of that range of motion. So, whether you need this side of the shower to help with crawling up the wall, or you can just gently bring your arms up through flexion. Good. Circling them right overhead, standing nice and tall, and then rotating back down. Good. If you want, you can bring the arms to the side as well, just opening the palms up towards the ceiling, circling them overhead. Good. And then pushing them away as you rotate back towards the ground. Good. Forward coming up, scooping the palms up, and then exhale, pushing them back down.

A great shoulder strengthener and neutral spine strengthener, as well as always helps out with the neck, is just a W. So, making a W with the arms, I like to spread the fingers to help kind of activate the muscles. And then here, you’re gonna tuck the chin in towards the chest and just squeeze the shoulders blades together. Don’t let the ribs flare out. Keep the belly pulled in and the ribs pulled down and squeeze the shoulder blades together. You can also do this just lying on your tummy, just kind of lifting the head and squeezing the shoulder blades as well.

When it comes down to it, arthritis isn’t always a fun thing to deal with. But here at Physiomed, we do believe that we can find the right treatment technique which includes again, looking at all those aspects of nutrition, movement and therapy that can help you lead a pain-free lifestyle and continue doing the things that you enjoy.