Please note that these stretches are intended to be used with professional advice from your osteopath. Using them on your own may result in your symptoms getting worse or causing further damage to the affected area. Use them at your own risk. Do keep in mind that there are more factors than just muscles which are involved with most spinal or joint problems - hence stretches cannot fix all painful issues on their own - but they are very useful for the maintenance of mobility and taking the load off joints. You are quite welcome to ask us questions about the stretches presented here, or give us suggestions for new additions.

General Instructions:

Stretches will vary according to the desired result on the muscle or tissue you would like to stretch. Most of the stretches presented here are intended for osteopathic patients attempting to recover from a particular issue. Hence the emphasis is towards a single muscle or group of muscles rather than producing complex regional stretching movements. In order to produce a 'retraining' effect on the muscles it is recommended to hold these stretches for about 30 seconds each. You only need to do them once in one sitting, but they do need to be repeated several times a day for optimum results. Changes should be seen within the first week and then gradually continue. If you want to produce a change in the passive length of the muscle it is recommended to hold them for at least 60 seconds. Similarly only one repetition is needed, but these are best done right after exercise and in general wouldn't need to be done more than twice a day. The changes in the passive elements of muscles will take much longer and will be very incremental.
In the photos below the green arrows always represent the area where you should expect to feel the stretch and the red arrows represent the direction in which movement is made.

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Biceps Stretch (14)

1. Place your arm out behind you with the index finger and thumb facing the wall. Everyone's biceps muscles run in a slightly different direction so try different angles, higher or lower on the wall, until you find the one which stretches your biceps best. Usually 90 degrees is a good place to start.
2. Turn away from the wall.
3. You should feel the stretch directly over the biceps area.
Triceps Stretch (15)

  1. Put your hand over your shoulder and onto the base of your neck.

  2. Flex your arm at the elbow as far as is comfortable.

  3. Reach over your head with your opposite arm to grip the elbow.

  4. Pull the elbow away from the side you are stretching while sidebending your body at the same time.
Forearm Extensor Stretch (16)

1. Point your index and middle finger away from yourself. Make sure your elbow is straight.
2. Turn them outwards.
3. Keep turning them outwards until the tips of your fingers almost point towards your head.
4. With your other arm reach over the top of the arm you are stretching and grip the index and middle fingers.
5. If your forearm is too tight or painful for the previous steps to work, this is an alternative way of doing it. Holding your arm out straight, bend your wrist down and point your index and middle fingers towards yourself.
6. Grip your index and middle fingers and pull them towards yourself.
Forearm Flexor Stretch (17)

  1. Hold your arm straight out in front of yourself.

  2. Make sure your elbow is straight.

  3. Extend your wrist so that your fingers point to the ceiling.

  4. Grip your fingers with your opposite hand and pull towards your face.

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