What is stretching?
- Increase range of motion and flexibility
- Promote relaxation
- Reduce pain
- Improve function and mobility
- Normalize muscle tone and tightness
- Prevent contractures (joints with limited mobility due to spasticity)
- Active stretching contracts the muscles opposite the ones being stretched. For example, when you contract your buttock muscles to lift the pelvis, you will simultaneously stretch the front thigh.
- In passive stretching, gravity can assist the stretch, or another person can manually stretch you. Equipment such as a brace that holds the joint at a specific angle, or a serial cast, which increases a stretch over time are other options. Ergometers, or arm cycles, also work well for managing spasticity and maintaining range of motion. Ask if you can use one in a physical therapist's (PT) office.