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Therapy exercises for scar tissue around the torso

Once a burn wound has healed, scar tissue can form. This can reduce and restrict movement at your joints and stop you from doing normal everyday activities. This tightness is called a contracture.

To help reduce the effects of this tightness a therapist will show you some exercises.

What exercises should I do?

It is especially important that these are continued at home as stated by your therapist. With all these exercises it is advised to do them on the floor. You can place a towel or exercise mat under you for comfort.

If you have a splint or pressure garment your therapist will tell you how to do your exercises in relation to this.

Exercises

Child’s pose

Kneel on your hands and knees on the floor. Spread your knees wide but keep your toes touching. Lower your bottom towards your heels. Your hands stay on the floor and your arms will straighten in front of you as you lower. Stop when you start to feel a stretch.

Illustration of child sat on their knees, spread apart and reaching their hands and body forward to rest their head on the floor in front of themselves

Hold this position for seconds, then relax and return to the start position.

Repeat times.

Child’s pose with side flexion

Kneel on your hands and knees on the floor. Spread your knees wide but keep your toes touching. Lower your bottom towards your heels. Place your hands on the floor in front of you then move them slightly to the left side. Place your right hand on top of your left. Stop when you start to feel a stretch. Make sure you keep moving your hips towards your bottom.

Illustration of child sat on their knees, spread apart and reaching their hands and body forward to rest their head on the floor in front of themselves and stretching their body to one side

Hold this position for seconds, then relax and return to the start position. Repeat on the other side.

Repeat times.

Cat cow stretch

Kneel on the floor with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Slowly drop your tummy towards the floor arching your spine and lift your head and chest looking up to the ceiling. Stop when you start to feel a stretch. Try not to let your shoulders rise up towards your ears.

Illustration of child on their hands and knees with their back first flexed to stick their bottom up and out, and then hunched and arched outwards

Hold for seconds. Then slowly draw your tummy into your spine and round your back towards the ceiling, this should look like a cat stretching. Then bend your neck to lower your head towards the floor. Again, stop when you start to feel a stretch.

Hold for seconds. Return to the starting position.

Repeat this times.

Thread the needle stretch

Start on the floor on your hands and knees. Keep your hands under your shoulders and knees under hips. Slide your right arm under your left with your palm facing up. Slowly lower your right shoulder and right ear to the floor.  Keep your hips up. Stop when you start to feel a stretch.

Illustration of child on their hands and knees, and with one arm threaded under the other to put their shoulder to the floor

Hold for seconds. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat on the left side.

Repeat times each side.

Side flexion with side lift

Lie on your right side with your right arm straight under your head. Your knees should be bent and stacked on top of each other. Slowly raise your left arm keeping it straight and bring it towards your head. Stop when you start to feel a stretch. Do not lift your hips up or twist forwards.

Illustration of child laid on their side with their knees bent, and raising one arm above and past their head to stretch their side

Hold for seconds, repeat on the other side.

Repeat times each side.

If you are finding this tricky and are twisting a parent or carer can support your body to stop this.

If the stretch seems too easy a parent or carer can take the arm further over your head or you can drop your top leg off the edge of a bed.

Mermaid pose

Start by sitting on the floor with your legs crossed. Sit up with a straight spine. Lift your left arm above your head keeping it straight. Slowly lean over towards the right. Stop when you start to feel a stretch. Make sure you keep your bottom on the floor and do not let your left hip lift up.

Illustration of child sat on the floor cross legged with one arm straight up into the air and then stretched across to their opposite side

Hold for seconds, repeat on the right side.

Repeat times on each side.

Spinal twist

Lie on your back on the floor. Bring your left knee towards your chest and hold it with your right hand. Slowly bring your left knee towards the floor on your right. Stop when you start to feel a stretch. Place your right hand on top of your left knee. Try to keep both your shoulders on the floor.

Illustration of child laid on the floor on their back, with their knee raised to their chest and then pushed across their body to stretch their back and side

Hold for seconds, repeat on the right side.

Repeat times on each side.

Standing side flexion

Stand up against a wall with a straight back. Slowly lean to the right running your hand down your right leg. Do not lean forwards or twist.

Illustration of child standing and on one side pulling their shoulder and arm down towards their knees so they rotate their torso to one side

Hold this position for seconds, then relax and return to the start position. Repeat this on your left side.

Repeat times.

If you need an extra stretch turn your head. If your left knee is on the floor turn your head to the left and straighten your left arm out to the side.

Seated torso rotation

Sit on a chair with a straight back. Twist to the left. You can hold the back of the chair with your left arm if you want to.

Illustration of child sat down with one hand placed on their opposite shoulder and twisting in that direction

Hold this position for seconds, then relax and return to the start position.

Repeat on the right side, holding the chair with the right arm if you want to. Hold this position for seconds, then relax and return to the start position.

Repeat times.

Baby cobra

Lying on your stomach, keep your hips on the floor. Lean into your forearms and look straight ahead. If this is too easy you can push up onto your hands. Throughout this exercise you must keep your hips on the floor.

Illustration of child laying on the floor on their belly, with their hands on the ground, and lifting up their chest to flex their back

Hold this position for seconds, then relax and return to the start position.

Repeat times.

Curl down off wall

Stand against a wall with your spine touching it. Slightly bend your knees and bring your feet away from the wall. Your back should now be fully touching the wall.  During this exercise please stop once you feel the stretch, you will improve and get further with time. Slowly start to bend your neck and roll your spine off the wall a piece at a time. If it helps you can put your hands on your legs and slide them down. Do not lift your back off or let the hips come away from the wall.

Illustration of child stood with their back to a wall and gently lowering their head to hunch and bend their neck and shoulders

Hold for seconds, return to the starting position.

Repeat times.

Contact us

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the therapy number on 0114 271 7148 or ward number 0114 226 0694.

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Disclaimer

Please note this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s. The details in this resource may not necessarily reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If you have specific questions about how this resource relates to your child, please ask your doctor.

Resource number: PT58

Resource Type: Article

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S10 2TH

United Kingdom

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