We are creatures of movement and our body systems rely on movement to function properly. Studies show that even for young people, 2 weeks of physical inactivity leads to 30% loss of muscle mass. In turn, inactivity also leads to loss of flexibility within the joints of the body. Your spine is made up of multiple vertebrae (the bones), each with a pair of joints on the left and right. These joints are called facets, gliding upwards and downwards at various angles.
Did you know…
Your spine relies heavily on your hips, joints and pelvis to be flexible. The majority of movement when you squat or bend down during the day comes from your hips. When your hips lose their flexibility, the strain is transferred to your spine, causing abnormal pain, wear and tear.
How to improve the flexibility of your spine
It is never good to stretch into pain or be aggressive. Stretch your muscles and joints within a comfortable range and gradually ease into deeper stretches
Depending on your age, you should stretch more frequently. The older you get, the longer and more frequent your stretching routine should be. Your tissues become less elastic as you age
Start with gentle stretches for the whole body. Focus on your hips, low and mid back. Even gentle neck stretches can help your posture
Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates can be great ways to stretch. However, make sure you start at a basic level, listen to the instructors and stay within your limits
Dynamic stretching is a very beneficial way to improve your flexibility and coordination of the joints. The goal is to stretch while going through a series of movements. This re-educates the body on the proper movement patterns to restore proper flexibility.
Try these exercises to improve your joint flexibility
Always consult your physical therapist or physician before starting exercises you are unsure of doing.
Quadruped Alternate Arm and Leg
While in a crawling position, slowly draw your leg and opposite arm upwards. Your arm and leg should be straight and fully out-stretched.
Levator Scapulae Stretch
Grasp your arm on the aﬀected side and tilt your head downward and to the side until a stretch is felt.
How physical therapy helps your flexibility
One of the core principles of physiotherapy is restoring correct movement. A physiotherapist improves the mobility of your spinal joints with advanced, but gentle hands on manual techniques. These gentle techniques specifically improve the flexibility of joints in the spine and hips. This takes many years of medical training and skill to be able to correctly evaluate and treat. In addition, physical therapists focus on teaching you how to prevent your problem from returning through specific exercises, retaining your flexibility.
Talk with our physiotherapists and get sound expert advice. Get in touch at our Bowmanville Clinic, Cobourg Clinic, Oshawa Clinic, Peterborough Clinic, and Port Hope Clinic. You could also book online by clicking here.
This article is part of our free back pain relief manual, You could download it by clicking here.
Owner / Registered Physiotherapist
About the Author
This article was written by We-Fix-U’s Owner and experienced Registered Physiotherapist. He has taken a special interest in treating back injuries since his own back surgery and rehab experience. His highlights have been working as a Physio along side the athletes from the 2000 Olympics. Dave is always willing to help when needed.