Stretch at the Office for Back Pain

Stretch at the Office for Back Pain
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In the digital age, more and more people are working behind computer screens. So it comes as no surprise that with the increase of office work, there appears to be an increased demand for back pain solutions. Some businesses will custom-design workstations to meet the needs of each individual employee. For most people, the desk you get is the desk you get. And if your desk is not ergonomic or the right fit for your body, then there is a good chance you are going to be feeling some pain in your back as a result. That being said, taking regular breaks to stretch at the office can be a great way to keep yourself pain-free. These stretches were designed to be done in work attire too. So there is no excuse to keep letting your back pain get in the way of you having an enjoyable, productive day at the office.

Why Your Back Hurts

Stretch at the Office for Back PainThere are two main causes of back pain that happen as a result of working in an office outside of pre-existing back conditions. For most people, tight hip flexors and tense back muscles are the main causes of office back pain. Sitting in a chair all day is something movement specialists call ‘unnatural.’ Our bodies were never designed to be in a chair all day long and our hips suffer the most as a result. The sitting position shortens your hip flexors and, as a result, they pull on your low back. Now your low back muscles try to compensate. If they are weak—as many people’s are—the low back muscles brace themselves by tensing up. This results in more strain on the low back. Sometimes this even means that the mid and upper back will also get tighter as a way of compensating for the muscles of the low back. After eight hours stuck in a chair with this going on in your body, it’s no wonder your back is in pain.

Stretch at the Office

It’s one thing to get a release in your hips when you’re in a yoga class. At the office, stretching becomes a bit more tricky. Although not impossible, office attire and a lack of privacy does require a bit of creativity when stretching at the office. That being said, there is still plenty you can do behind your desk that will help free up space in your hips and low back.

Quad Stretch

You probably want to remove your heels for this one. Start standing and position yourself close to something you can hold onto if you help with balance. Stay in the stretch for at least 5-10 deep inhales and long exhales.

  • Kick one heel up towards your butt and catch that heel with your hand.
  • Line up your knees so they are side by side.
  • Push the hip of your lifted leg forward as you stretch the leg backward. You should feel a deeper stretch in your quad and hip flexor when you do this.
  • Kick your foot back into your hand as you pull your heel closer to you butt.
  • Repeat on the other side.

 

Seated Twist

You can do this twist seated. Start with both feet planted on the floor hip-width apart. Stay in the stretch for at least 5-10 deep inhales and long exhales.

  • Place one hand on your low back with your fingers pointing downwards.
  • Grab the outside of the knee you will be twisting towards with your opposite hand.
  • As you inhale, sit up a bit taller.
  • As you exhale use the leverage of the leg you are holding onto to move deeper into the twist.
  • When you come out of it, do a gentle counter twist to the other side and then return the spine to neutral.
  • Repeat on the other side.

 

Low Back Stretch

Again remove your heels. Start standing and position. If you have trouble with balance, you may want to do this stretch with your back against a wall. Stay in the stretch for at least 5-10 deep inhales and long exhales.

  • Lift one knee up into your chest and interlace your fingers across your shin.
  • As you inhale, stand up a bit taller to create space in your back.
  • As you exhale, draw your knee closer into your chest. You should feel a stretch in your glute and/or your low back.
  • Repeat on the other side.

 

Stress and Back Pain

Not only do these three simple stretches help to loosen tight muscles, the breathing helps with stress management. If your back pain is also the result of mental tension, taking a few deep breaths will help to relax you. Taking a few minutes to stretch out at the office everyday will keep your hip flexors and low back pain free. A calmer, more focused mind means you will be more productive. So start doing these stretches today. Your back and your boss will thank you.

 

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