Three Strengthening Stretches for Bedridden Patients
When caregiving for a loved one who is bedridden, it can feel as though there are a deluge of daily tasks that need to be seen to. Medications have to be administered, catheters need to be changed — the list goes on. Yet, with so many factors to consider, it’s important not to forget about a regular stretching regimen.
Through the power of regular stretching, bedridden patients can lengthen muscles and strengthen their bones. Most importantly, according to The Livestrong Foundation, stretching allows patients “to combat against any potential muscle atrophy or shortening.”
Thus, if you are looking to incorporate a healthy stretching routine for a loved one, the following will explore just a few strengthening stretches for bedridden patients.
The palm stretch is the simplest exercise to undertake. To start, patients should place their palm in front of their body. Once this position is achieved, the individual should stretch their fingers through extending them wide. They should hold this extension for either one breath cycle, or until the stretch is felt in the palms and fingers. Once warmed up, the patient should use their thumb to consecutively touch each finger for multiple repetitions.
Stretching the hamstring is an effective exercise, especially for bedridden patients who suffer from hip ailments and joint stiffness.
To do this exercise, patients will need to enlist the help of a friend or home health aide. While lying on their backs, the patient has the aide lift the leg into the air. If there is no pain, the caregiver can guide the leg towards the center of the body for the patient. The goal is to have a bent knee hugging into the patient’s core. Once this position is achieved, patients should hold for at least one breath cycle before releasing. If mobility will allow, caregivers should repeat this exercise on the other leg.
Single Leg Hip Lift
The single leg hip lift is another stretch that focuses on rotating hip flexors and combatting potential muscle atrophy. Based on personal mobility, this stretch can be done by the patient or with the help of a home caregiver. Patients should begin by lying down on their back with one leg extended to the ceiling, while the other is bent. The bent leg anchors down, with the foot flat on the surface of the bed. Patients should then lift the hips of the bent leg as high as they can, raising the elevated leg even further. Once the hips and leg release, patients should repeat with the other leg.