Hi, I'm Doctor Jo, a Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy. I hope you enjoy my video demos of stretches & exercises for common injuries and syndromes. Be safe. Have fun. And I hope you feel better soon.

Neck Pain

Buy Neck Pain WorksheetIf you are having some neck pain, stiffness, or tightness, check out this video for neck stretches. The neck muscles that are affected the most are your trapezius and levator scapulae muscles. People often describe neck pain as a crick in their neck.

First start off with some gentle neck stretches by bringing your chin to your chest and then looking up towards the ceiling. This is neck flexion and extension. Next you are going to take your ear to your shoulder on each side. Make sure you are not shrugging your shoulders up. This is side bending. Then you are going to turn your head from side to side like you are looking over your shoulder. This is neck rotation. If that is not painful, then you can add some overpressure with your hands. 

Now place your hand under your thigh to keep your shoulder down, then side bend your head to the opposite side and gently put pressure with your other hand to get a stretch through your trapezius muscles. Hold these for 30 seconds and perform 3 times on each side.

The final stretch is going to be for your levator scapulae muscle. This is the muscle that is used when you shrug your shoulders, and they can get overworked when you are stressed out. Take your arm on the side of the pain and place it above and behind your shoulder. Then take your opposite arm and place on top and slightly behind your head. Look down towards the opposite knee of the pain and apply gentle pressure for a good stretch. 

 

Shoulder Pain

Buy Shoulder Stretches WorksheetShoulder pain can really slow someone down, and when stiffness or tightness is involved people can have a difficult time with their every day activities. Here are some simple stretches to get your shoulder loosened up. They can be used if you have been diagnosed with shoulder tendonitis, bursitis, adhesive capsulitis, frozen shoulder, shoulder impingement, or if you are recovering from a surgery.

The first stretches are called pendulums. Use a chair or counter top, and lean over so your arm hangs down towards the ground. Move your body, not your arm in circles so your arm swings around like a pendulum. You can also rock front to back and side to side. Add a small weight in your hand to open up the joint space while doing these stretches. The next stretches you will need to use a table or counter top. This is an active assisted stretch, which means you are moving the arm now, but the table will support the weight. You will slide your arm forward and lean your body forward until you feel a stretch. You can also move it at an angle and circles. 

Finally, you can use a wall to stretch your shoulder. Again, the wall will support your arm while you move it. You can slide it upward and lean into the wall until you feel a stretch, and then you can try circles as well. Then you can turn sideways to get your abduction stretch. 

 

SI Joint Dysfunction

Buy SI Joint WorksheetThe exercises and stretches in this video will help if you have been diagnosed with an SI joint dysfunction. This is when the pelvis is out of alignment with your spine. The sacrum comes together with your iliac bones, and this joint is called the SI joint. 

Your doctor or therapist might tell you that you have a posterior or anterior pelvic rotation. This is also called an innominate rotation. It can cause pain in your hips or pelvis and sacrum area. Many times people will say it hurts in their butt cheek area. It will also be painful while walking or change your gait pattern. Once it is corrected by your therapist, you want to strengthen your hip and pelvic muscles to keep it in place. Occasionally, it will go back out, and here is a good way to self correct it. 

Here are some isometric hip exercises and techniques to get it back in place and keep it in place. Using a combination of hip flexion and extension, and then hip abduction and hip adduction will help rotate the hips back into place. With isometric exercises and all exercises, make sure you are not holding your breath. If you cannot talk while you are performing exercises, then most likely you are holding your breath.

 

Sciatic Nerve Pain

Buy sciatic nerve pain worksheetSciatic nerve pain usually occurs in the buttocks area, and it can often be caused from a tight muscle in the buttocks area called the piriformis muscle. People often describe the pain as achy, shooting, heavy, and just a pain in the butt...literally. This video will show you some simple stretches to keep the pressure off that sciatic nerve!

The first stretch for your piriformis will be on your back. Cross the leg over that is hurting into a figure 4 position. Grab the knee on the same side of the pain with your opposite hand, and pull it up and across your body to the opposite shoulder. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and perform 3 times. The next stretch, you will keep the figure 4, and pull the good leg up towards your chest. You can use a belt or leash to help pull the leg up if your hips are not very flexible.

Finally, turn over onto all fours, or quadruped and cross the injured side in front of you. This is going to be a big stretch, so only do this if you are not feeling much of a stretch with the other exercises. Once you cross your leg over, lean down towards the floor to the opposite shoulder. 

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