Stretching Precautions

  1. Always check with your family doctor or physical therapist prior to beginning any type of new exercise program.
  2. Don't force a joint beyond its normal range of motion. This can lead to instability of the joint.
  3. Be extra careful if you suffer from osteoporosis or are taking steroids. The risk of fractures is elevated.
  4. Avoid aggressive stretching of muscles that have been immobilized in a splint or cast. Connective tissues lose their tensile strength after periods of immobilization.
  5. Stretching needs to progress gradually. It may take several weeks of a stretching program before you see significant results, so don't rush it.
  6. 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.
  7. Avoid stretching swollen or edematous tissues as they are more susceptible to damage.
  8. Avoid over stretching weak muscles.
  9. 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.