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What is a good way to stretch my lower back whilst in the office?

stretches for low back pain while in office

The sedentary nature of modern office jobs has a detrimental effect on human health, especially the spine. The human body is not designed to be idle. We are creatures of movement.  Researchers into obesity have related a sedentary lifestyle as the main cause of metabolic syndrome. Sedentary lifestyle along with improper posture during prolonged sitting or standing drastically effects health.  It causes problems with not only the lower back and core muscles but the neck and mid back as well.  In physical therapy we call this adaptive shortening.

Do you slouch while you work at your desk?

This creates a hunched back and a forward head posture that collapses the upper body muscles, shifts the normal proper spinal position leading to pain and dysfunction. If not identified and managed you are setting yourself up for spinal injury.

When you unintentionally repeat poor posture every day, your body’s shape slowly adjusts and adapts (adaptive shortening) to the poor posture, resulting in misalignment. These mis-alignments with the spine and muscles can develop health problems from digestive issues to herniated discs.

There are a few stretches that you can practice at your desk which can help prevent neck, shoulder and lower back pain.

Simple Neck stretch

A research states that women suffer neck pain more than men. Below is a simple stretch exercise that makes the trapezius, (the kite shaped muscle) that covers the upper and back part of the neck and shoulders, relax and helps to soothe the pain.

Stretch

  • Sit up straight with feet flat and shoulders back.
  • Hold onto the bottom of your chair with your right hand firmly.
  • Slowly slide your head sideways, so that your left ear nears your left shoulder until you feel a gentle stretch on the right side of your neck and shoulder.
  • Hold for few seconds; repeat the same on the opposite side.
  • Doing this stretch a few times a day prevents you from neck or shoulder strain.

Long Spine stretch

This exercise will make your long spine muscle to stretch and relax.

Stretch

  • Sit up straight and make sure your sitting bones are evenly in contact with the chair.
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor and placed wide apart.
  • Sit straight and then slowly move your hands down your legs till you reach the floor.
  • Breathe normally in the stretch position and try to bend slightly further down. Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat three times.

Wrist stretch

Overuse of the wrist tends to injure and affect humans between the age of 30 and 50. We have all have heard of carpal tunnel syndrome! This can be caused by work or by any repetitive movements like gripping and grasping, static positioning on the mouse etc. and just continuous computer and phone use.

Stretch

  • Sit up straight with feet flat and shoulders back.
  • Extend your right arm forward at shoulder height.
  • Make sure your elbow straight, hold your right hand with your left and slowly bend the wrist backward until you feel a stretch at the bottom of your forearm.
  • Hold the position for 15 seconds and breathe normally.
  • Then bend wrist downward until a stretch is felt on the top of the arm, and hold for 15 seconds.
    Switch arms and repeat.
  • Repeat four times for each hand.

This stretch greatly helps to soothe the wrist and shoulder pain.