- Always check with your family doctor or physical therapist prior to beginning any type of new exercise program.
- Don't force a joint beyond its normal range of motion. This can lead to instability of the joint.
- Be extra careful if you suffer from osteoporosis or are taking steroids. The risk of fractures is elevated.
- Avoid aggressive stretching of muscles that have been immobilized in a splint or cast. Connective tissues lose their tensile strength after periods of immobilization.
- Stretching needs to progress gradually. It may take several weeks of a stretching program before you see significant results, so don't rush it.
- You should not experience more than a transitory discomfort after stretching. pain that lasts longer may indicate the presence of inflammation. The phrase "no pain, no gain" does not apply here.
- Avoid stretching swollen or edematous tissues as they are more susceptible to damage.
- Avoid over stretching weak muscles.
- Make sure you always continue to breath during a stretch. Holding your breath can affect your blood pressure.
If you think any of the above conditions apply to you, seek advice from your physical therapist before starting a stretching program. Once you have received clearance from your physician be sure to follow correct methods of stretching so as to avoid injury.
For a list of contraindications to stretching click here.