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Tai Chi Stretches for Back Pain Relief

Tai chi is an ancient martial arts style that emphasizes internal power and focus. Today, it is not used as much for self defense as it is for health purposes, including relieving stress and increasing strength and flexibility. Certain movements and stretches can have a beneficial influence on your back and shoulders, and the following stretches are simple enough to do on your own if you have back problems:

  • Upper Back Stretch: This will help stretch the muscles around your shoulder blades. You start with your feet about shoulder-width apart, your fingers interlocked in front of you, and your palms facing outward and forward. Then raise your arms in front of you as far as they’ll go while relaxing your upper back. Repeat 10 times.
     
  • Back Twist: This is a very simple stretch. All you have to do is stand normally with your feet pointing forward and then turn your upper body as far to one side as it will comfortably go. Hold it for a brief moment, then turn back and twist the other way. Do about 10 reps for each side, allowing your arms to relax and move freely with your body.
  • Autumn Breeze: For this stretch, stand normally with your knees slightly bent and your arms out in front of you. Turn you right hand so that it is perpendicular to the ground while keeping your left hand parallel with the ground. Then turn your waist to the left. Your right hand is basically “blowing” your left hand away, sort of like the wind blows a leaf. Let your arms flow with your body as you go, and once you go as far left as you can, reverse everything and go the other way. Your left hand will now be “blowing” your right. This stretch will help you develop your spine’s flexibility and strength.
     
  • Ruler Exercise: You don’t necessarily need a ruler to do this stretch, but it helps. You start with your feet a foot apart. Turn your left foot out 45 degrees, and then move your right foot forward a little. Put your hands slightly in front of your waist, with the palms facing each other. If you have a ruler handy, hold that between your palms. If not, just hold your hands a foot apart throughout the exercise. Then shift your weight onto your right foot and raise your arms straight forward and up. Shift your weight back to your left foot and lower your arms. Continue for five minutes. This will help relieve stiffness and soreness in your back.

If you have a sore back, applying these stretches on a daily basis can help reduce your pain as well as increase your overall fitness.

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