Stretching exercises

  

Stretching exercises done on a daily basis for 4-6 weeks will improve flexibility and make a big difference to posture and movement control.

This is a gentle, comforting stretch that can be done at bedtime for children who experience knee pain at night.  

For painful legs without swelling, redness or acute injury. Please check with your physical therapist or doctor before doing these stretches.

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Children who habitually sit with a rounded back posture often develop tightness in the neck muscles. 

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Some children develop tightness in the muscles that join the scapula to the shoulder blade. This tightness makes it difficult to move the hand forwards with the elbow close to the body. This movement is needed for working with the hands in front of the body (cutting with scissors) and for for drawing and writing. 

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This exercise stretches the muscles of the hips as well as stretching the back in a forwards and backwards direction. 

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In this exercise you reach up as high as you can with one arm and hold the stretched position for 10 slow counts. This provides a good stretch for the shoulder muscles and makes it easier to reach forwards with the arm for hand tasks, drawing and handwriting. 

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Sitting twists stretch the lower back muscles as well as the muscles that cross over the side of the hips and increase flexibility for sitting erect and working at a table.

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Children are often expected to sit cross legged on the floor for an extended period of time, such as during morning ring or story time.  The majority of children can do this with relative ease.  

However children with joint hypermobility and low tone often find sitting with their legs crossed uncomfortable because of tightness in the muscles that cross from the lower back over the sides of the hips and down to the side of the knees.

These exercises stretch the shoulder, lower back and hip muscles.

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This exercise stretches the shoulder, upper and lower back muscles, as well as the hip muscles, improving the child's ability to sit erect when sitting cross legged.

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This is a very effective stretch of the lower back and trunk suitable for older children and parents. It is particularly good for moms and dads with some lower back pain and those with tight hamstrings.

This exercise should not cause any pain - so if you do have low back pain, go very gently and stop if you experience pain doing the exercise.

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The iliotibial band is often tight in children with joint hypermobility and contributes to the tendency to stand with the feet wide apart and the toes turned outwards.

Modified cobra stretch for child

This exercise stretches the muscles (and associated fascial structures) that cross over the front and sides of the hips and thighs. 

 

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This exercise stretches the lower back, hamstring and calf muscles. 

This is a good stretch for a child  who walks on the toes. 

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This is a good exercise for stretching the lower back and hamstring muscles. while at the same time activating the abdominal muscles. 

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In this exercise the child lies on a firm surface with the hips and knees flexed and the feet flat on the floor.  The buttocks are then lifted until the hips are fully extended. 
      
This movement stretches the muscles that cross over the front and the side of the hips and knees, in particular the hip flexor muscles and the iliotibial band. 

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