Living with pain does not have to be “the norm.” In fact, incorporating a regular stretching routine into you daily activities can not only help relieve pain, but it can prevent pain from becoming persistent.
Seeing a physical therapist or a specialist all the time to guide you through stretching may not be practical. And it is not easy to squeeze in a yoga or pilates class into a hectic schedule. But these stretches can all be done at home, at the office, and on the go. These stretches are extremely simple and are a great way to reduce chronic pain at home.
The good thing about stretching on your own is that, once you learn proper technique, you can listen to your body and your pain and do what feels best for you. Do not force a stretch if it is painful or hurts in any way. For most of these stretches, all you need is a chair!
Consult your doctor before starting any regular stretching routine.
Stretches to Reduce Chronic Pain at Home
Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is very common and can be debilitating if not monitored and treated. Stretching is good for loosening up muscles and reducing soreness. If you are home, try stretches like the Butterfly or Pigeon Pose that you can do on the floor. But for when you are out and about, this stretch can be done in a chair.
- Sit forward on a chair
- Bring one knee up to your chest, grasping the back of your thigh
- Pull gently and slowly to your body, and hold for 30 seconds.
- Release your leg to the floor, and repeat with the other leg.
Hip pain can make daily life difficult. If you sit or stand too long, the pain can worsen. Severe chronic pain should always be addressed by your doctor, but this stretch can provide pain relief for minor aches.
- Sit on the edge of your chair
- Rotate your torso to the right
- Extend your left leg as far behind you as you can
- Keep your right leg bent at a slight angle
- Press your left hip toward the floor and lift your chest
- Hold for 30 seconds
- Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side
Knee pain is another common ailment that can be caused by many different conditions. It is not uncommon to seek medical help for knee pain. This stretch is done to help relieve knee soreness and stiffness from sitting or standing too long. Keep the joint loose and mobile helps avoid and reduce pain.
- Sit forward in a chair with your feet flat on the floor
- Keeping your back straight, slowly stand
- Stand for 5 seconds
- Slowly sit down, keeping your back straight and being mindful in your movements.
Stretching your neck is one of the easiest parts of the body to relieve pain. Massages are a great way to reduce neck pain, but you may not have someone to massage your neck! This simple stretch will help relieve tightness in your neck.
- Sit in a chair with your back straight and feet on the floor
- Tilt your head to one side, ear to shoulder until you feel a stretch, hold for 30 seconds.
- Slowly roll your head bringing your chin to chest, hold for 10 seconds
- Continue to roll head to bring the other ear to your other shoulder
Shoulders can hold a lot of tension. This can be caused by stress, bad posture, or just daily life. It’s common to pinch a nerve or tweak a muscle while lifting something heavy. This stretch can help loosen the muscles and relieve tension. It’s very easy to do while sitting or standing, so you can do it practically anywhere!
- Inhale and bring both shoulders up towards your ears
- Hold for 5 seconds
- Exhale and bring shoulders down, slowly. Press your shoulders down toward the floor
- Repeat until you feel the muscles loosen
The upper back can hold tension like the shoulders and feel as sore as lower back pain. Because back muscles are so large, they are very easily injured. This stretch is another one that is incredibly easy to do wherever you are.
- Place your right hand on your left shoulder and your left hand on your right shoulder.
- Hug tight and breathe deeply, expanding your ribs and back
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds
- Release arms and lower them to your sides
Throughout all these stretches, it is important to remember to breathe. These stretches are simple ways to reduce chronic pain at home. If your pain persists, consult with your doctor for more effective stretches and exercises.
*These are generalized exercises and is not meant to be taken as medical advice. For specific recommendations patients are encouraged to make an appointment with a professional.*