Lower back pain is a massive problem in today’s modern society. Many of us spend a lot of time sitting down at desks whether it’s at work or at home. Office workers in particular, come off worst with 54% of those who work at their desks report suffering from lower back pain due to the sheer amount of time spent sitting in one position and usually with bad posture.
Sitting down not only adds to muscle tension in the back, but add poor posture to that and you have a situation where constriction of blood vessels and nerves cause more lower back pain. This is why lower back pain shouldn’t be overlooked as it can be a complicated health issue with not just one cause – our muscular system adapts easily to how we sit, with our circulatory and nervous system also being affected.
4 Easy Desk Exercises To Relieve Lower Back Pain
Judith Gould is a trained physiotherapist who specialises in how ergonomics at work can help relieve lower back pain. Doing simple exercises at your desk each day can help eliminate lower back pain by stretching the muscles and correcting bad posture. Being mindful of moving throughout the day will go towards better back health so here are 4 exercises that are easy to incorporate into a busy day.
1. Lower Spine Stretch
By doing this exercise, the muscles surrounding the length of the spine will get a good stretch in a sideways direction.
- With your feet flat on the floor and your armrests low down, sit firmly on your chair making sure your sitting bones are in contact with the seat.
- Place your right hand on the armrest and reach your left hand up above your head, bending your spine slightly to the right.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds making sure you breathe into the stretch.
- Repeat on each side three times.
2. Long Spinal Stretch
This exercise allows your spinal muscles to stretch in a forward motion. It’s important that the muscles get stretched in more than one direction to help restore alignment.
- In your chair with your sitting bones firmly placed on the seat, place your feet flat on the floor and spread them out wide apart.
- Sit up straight and tall then slowly slide your hands down your legs until they reach the floor.
- Place your fingertips on the floor between your feet, and with each breath try to stretch further down until your palms are flat. Don’t worry if you can’t do this, just go as far as is comfortable for you.
- Hold for 30 seconds and breathe into the stretch.
- Repeat three times.
3. Deep Hip Muscle Stretch
Stretching your hip muscles can help relieve lower back pain as they can tighten when sitting for long periods of time and especially when you already suffer from lower back pain. When doing this stretch, be aware of numbness or a pins and needles sensation as this is an indicator that you are over-stretching.
- Sit near the edge of your seat with both feet flat on the floor.
- Lift up your right ankle and place it on your left thigh just above the knee.
- Sitting up straight and tall, slowly bend forward from your hips, keeping your spine nice and straight. This will create a stretch through the back of your right hip.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds and slowly come back up remembering to keep your spine straight.
- Repeat three times and then repeat with your left ankle on your right thigh.
4. Hamstring Reach
We don’t always think about our leg muscles when we have pain in our lower back, but tight hamstring muscles can affect the natural curve of the spine. Loosening them up will go towards relieving your lower back pain.
- Sit close to the edge of your chair with your feet flat on the floor.
- Sliding your right leg out with your heel to the ground, keep your knee straight and flex your toes up towards your shin.
- Start to slowly reach forward towards your toes keeping your back and spine straight.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat three times.
- Repeat with your left leg.
Five minutes is all it takes to help alleviate and prevent lower back pain. It’s recommended to repeat these exercises once every hour or as often as possible throughout the day if you find yourself sitting a lot at your desk. Always consult with a doctor before doing an exercise regime if you’re suffering from any back pain, but doing these on a regular basis will help align your back and stabilise your muscles and joints.
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