Learn the common stretches and yoga poses that may be causing you problems and what to do instead!

Flexibility training has numerous benefits, however, if done incorrectly, they can cause injury.

You may be wondering… ‘if these stretches are dangerous, why do people do them?’

Some of these moves mimic athletic activities, such as hurdlers.  If you used some of these stretches back in college when you were an athlete, it doesn’t mean you should try these moves later in life. Your joints may have since been compromised or perhaps, you may not be as ‘trained’ as you were years back.

Here are some controversial stretches, that may be potentially dangerous, especially if suffering from any knee, hip, back, neck or shoulder pain.

 

DON’T DO THIS...

TRY THIS INSTEAD...

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Inverted Hurdler’s stretch: This stretch places high stress on the inside of the knee (medial collateral ligament) and may cause pain and stress on the kneecap (patella).  

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This stretch still focuses on the hamstring and slight upper back, without putting strain on this knee.  When stretching, it is important to not take the body to a full pain position, be gentle with the stretch and allow the body to relax before moving deeper into the stretch. Hold stretches for 30 seconds on each leg.  

 

TRY THIS INSTEAD…

DON’T DO THIS...

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Straight-Leg toe touch: This position places the vertebrae and cartilage discs in the low back under high stress. Any client with a history of herniated discs or nerve pain that runs down the back of the legs, should avoid this stretch. In addition, those with poor flexibility may stress the ligaments of the knees through hyperextension.

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By bending the knees, relaxing the head down, and gently falling forward, you release the tension on the ligaments behind the legs, as well as, reducing pressure in the discs in the low back.

 

DON’T DO THIS...

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(above) Arching Quadriceps: This stretch was design to stretch the quads and hip flexors, however, it places high stress on the kneecap and joint.  Avoid, if there is any history of knee pain. To avoid any damage to the knee cartilage, use other techniques to stretch the quads and hip flexors.

(right) If it is challenging to grab the foot, use a strap or towel to help assist. Keep the knees pulled in together and stand tall.  (right above) When laying on the floor, try to keep the back flat on the back. Keep the neck relaxed on the floor. Gently pull the knees into the chest.  

TRY THESE INSTEAD..

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AVOID THESE COMMON YOGA POSES WHEN EXPERIENCING NECK OR SHOULDER PAIN

DON'T DO THIS...

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Plow Pose:  Very common in Yoga, but due to the inverted nature of this pose (head is lower than the hips), it stresses the neck and spine. This position should be avoided if there has been a history of any neck or spine issues. As well as, those who suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension).  

TRY THIS INSTEAD...

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Sit on a ball, gently roll forward and have the neck hang down between the knees. This will allow the back to stretch, while using gravity to create space between the vertebrae in the neck.

 

TRY THIS INSTEAD...

DON'T DO THIS...

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Shoulder Stand: Another inverted Yoga pose, which puts the neck, shoulders, and spine in a high stress vulnerable position. Should not be performed if someone does not have perfect technique, has ever suffered from injury, or is hypertensive.

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It is very beneficial to circulated the blood and pull the blood down from the legs, however this can be obtained without putting so much strain in the neck.  Try putting the legs against the wall with the spine straight on the floor. If this is too hard on the back of the legs, bend the knees, and rest the lower legs on a surface, level to the knees.

 

When experiencing neck pain, try light stretches for the neck to release tension. Check out the video below for some suggestions! 

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