The Cobra Stretch

The Cobra Stretch

May 19, 2021

With the high demands of work and family life, it’s so easy for us to be immersed and get lost in those daily activities. Many people are too busy to spare some time to exercise. But keep in mind that exercises are very important for health and it helps us prevent health afflictions. Physical Therapy has introduced so many treatments and exercises to us that can be taught to clients in the easiest and safest way possible. Some simple exercises can easily be conducted at home. One example of such activity is the cobra stretch exercise.

From the word itself, you can just imagine how this is done, and this stretching exercise has so many benefits. This stretch is also known in the Yoga industry and Yogis also call the Bhujangasana, this is a stretch exercise that is especially useful for people who have sedentary lifestyles such as those who spend their days sitting.

The cobra pose was actually adopted from the cobra yoga stretch where the cobra snake raises its head and spreads its neck ready to strike. The cobra stretch has a lot of benefits:

Reduces stress

Therapists and yogis say that heart-opening poses like the cobra take an emotional weight off a patient. It elevates the mood and helps in reducing anxiety and stress.

Reduces neck and back pain

This posture stretches the muscles in the chest, shoulders, and neck area, which in turn helps in relieving tightness in the upper extremity including the back. It is also beneficial for those who sit hunched over a desk all day.

Injury Prevention

Athletes can also consider this and include it in their regimen. Doing the cobra stretch will result in tight hip flexors and can be beneficial for athletes who play running, skiing, and cycling. Stretching this area with Cobra Pose can keep hips flexible which results in reducing the risk of injury. Cobra also allows the front of the body a chance to stretch and open up, which can reduce the risk of a shoulder injury.

Relieves Sciatica

Patients who are suffering from sciatica can benefit a lot from the cobra stretch as well. Tight muscles in the lower back, hips, and legs can cause the pinching pain of sciatica, and doing Cobra Pose will help increase flexibility in this area

Builds upper body strength

Cobra stretch would require you to hold your torso up during the movement and this will help strengthen and tone your biceps, triceps as well as deltoids.

Contraindications and Cautions

No matter how effective this stretch may be, there’s always a catch and that is, patients with underlying conditions such as back injury, Carpal tunnel syndrome, headache, and pregnant patients should avoid the cobra stretch. That’s why evaluation is always done prior to treatment.

How to perform:

Lie on the floor on your belly with your forehead to the floor. Then, place your hand’s palm down on the floor alongside your ribs. Make sure your elbows are at a 90-degree angle.

Next, bring your legs together. Keep the tops of your feet pressed to the floor, and as you inhale, peel your chest slowly off the floor. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, down, and away from your ears. Keep your elbows pointed directly back. Bring your belly button to your spine to protect the low back.

If the low back feels fine and you don’t feel any pain, you can lift your torso higher by pressing your hands into the floor. Here, therapists remind you that you only go as high as you feel comfortable while keeping all your muscles engaged.

Sustain this position for 30 seconds. When you exhale, slowly lower your back down to the floor. but if you feel any discomfort slowly go back to starting position. Repeat the process five times but give one minute of a break in between.

So there you have it. If you want to know more about the cobra stretch, give your Physical Therapist a visit or a call.

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