Health

CoreStretch

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Stretches upper and lower back, shoulders, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and shins

I have chronic back pain and osteoporosis and use a CoreStretch ($75) (in conjunction with a Spine-Worx) to reduce spinal compression and decrease pain. I’ve used it for about 8 years and it seems to be working beautifully; I have much less pain and haven’t needed to visit a chiropractor since using it.

I’m a pharmacist and researched other options thoroughly before choosing this. An inversion table may be a superior device for stretching the spine…but it’s also huge, ugly, unwieldy, and expensive. This costs less than a chiro visit, and I can easily tuck it behind my bedroom door. I’m also not fond of that “full head” feeling you get with an inversion table when the blood pressure increases in the brain. This is just bending over; your cranial blood pressure is largely unaffected.

It’s well built, and there really isn’t much that could go wrong with it. It still looks like new after years of use. It’s simple to use: sit down (I use the edge of my bed) and put the padded bar on your lap, tucked up next to your torso. Adjust the length of the handles so that your arms are comfortably stretched when you grasp them. Grab hold and gently lean forward; your whole spine will get a nice stretch. I usually stretch gently from one side to another, making a shallow “U” that’s only about a foot wide, trying to go just slightly deeper with each pass.

There is a whole range of suggested positions you can use to stretch different areas and muscle groups. I only use it for a minute or two, then move onto the Spine-Worx for a few minutes. This regimen works well, as evidenced by much less pain, and the fact that my spine has stopped shrinking (a potential problem with osteoporosis). When I use it, I generally have a pain-free day. Your mileage may vary, of course…but if you’re looking for a spinal stretcher that won’t break the bank, this is worth a try. If you’ve wondered whether an inversion table might help you, but haven’t got the room or money for one, you might give this a try!

-- Barbara Dace 03/18/19