Are there basic guidelines for stretching?

It is important to start on a stretching routine that suits your particular needs. For this reason, you will find that our stretching routines fall into different categories related to age, sport or even pain, for example back pain.
The stretch should be done until you feel a slight pulling of the muscle, but not pain. As you hold the stretch the muscle will begin to relax.Then as you feel the tension easing, you can increase the stretch again until you feel the same slight pulling. Hold this position until you feel no further increase.
If you do not seem to gain any range of motion using the above technique, you may consider holding the stretch longer (up to 60 seconds), but don’t overstretch.