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4 Simple Desk-Based Stretches For Effective Lower Back Pain Relief

4 Simple Desk-Based Stretches For Effective Lower Back Pain Relief

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.

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    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

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        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

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                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

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                        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

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                              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.

                              Featured photo credit: negativespace.co via pexels.com

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                              Jenny Marchal

                              Freelance Writer

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                              How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

                              How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

                              Keeping yourself awake at work can be a real challenge when you’re bored, exhausted or sleep-deprived.

                              But before you reach for that can of Red Bull, bottle of Mountain Dew, or pot of coffee, try these healthy remedies to stimulate your 5 different senses and help you stay awake at work:

                              Sight – Visual Stimulation

                              The first thing you do when you wake up is opening your eyes, so your visual stimulation is very important to keeping your energy level high.

                              1. Maximize your exposure to light.

                              Your body’s internal rhythm is regulated by the amount of light you receive. The greater your exposure, the more alert you will feel.

                              Open the shades and let in the sunlight. Step outside or look out the window. Turn on all the artificial lights in your office or around your work space.

                              2. Exercise your eyes (or give them a break).

                              Roll your eyes up and down, side to side and diagonally. Rotate them clockwise and then counterclockwise. Squeeze them shut and then open them wide. Do this several times.

                              Reading and sitting in front of a computer screen for long periods can lead to eye fatigue.

                              Take regular breaks with deliberate blinking and looking out into the distance.

                              3. Take note of your environment.

                              Learn to enjoy people-watching. Observe their activities, speech, body language and interactions with others. Notice the details of building, trees and other objects around you, including their color, shape and size.

                              By doing this, you’re not only relaxing your eye muscles but also calming your mind.

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                              Hearing – Auditory Stimulation

                              What you hear or listen to have direct effect on your brain. This is why we feel so annoyed and sometimes angry when we hear construction noise when we’re working.

                              4. Engage in conversation.

                              Talk to a friend or colleague. Trade funny stories. Discuss your business venture, a creative idea, the latest political scandal, or any other topic that interests you.

                              Practice mindful listening to what you and the other person are saying. Tune into the tone, volume and content of the conversation.

                              Learn how to practice better listening from this guide:

                              Why Listen to Reply Instead of Understand Is the Key to Failure

                              5. Listen to upbeat music.

                              Try hip hop, rock or jazz to keep you alert. Instrumental, non-distracting music works best.

                              Sing, whistle, and hum along if you can. Plug in the earphones if you must.

                              Smell – Olfactory Stimulation

                              If you’re feeling sleepy and suddenly smell the coffee, you’ll probably feel more energetic. This is why smell is an influential stimulation.

                              6. Work your nose.

                              Aroma therapists recommend essential oils of peppermint (to boost energy), rosemary (to build awareness), eucalyptus (to increase oxygen), cedarwood  (to activate your mind), and cinnamon (to improve your reaction time).

                              If you don’t have essential oils on hand, you can use lotions or burning candles that provide the same scents.

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                              Citrus like lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges are also natural olfactory stimulants. Get a whiff of these citrus scents to stay awake.

                              Taste – Gustatory Stimulation

                              If you want an energetic day at work, you can’t let your tongue feeling plain and flavorless.

                              7. Have a good breakfast.

                              Start off with the most important meal of the day.

                              Think fresh, light and healthy: bran cereals, wholegrain breads, fruits, and yogurt.

                              Nix the heavy stuff like sausages, greasy eggs or pancakes.

                              Need some breakfasts inspirations? Check out these ideas:

                              20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

                              8. Drink lots of water.

                              Keep a glass or bottle of H2O near you and sip from it throughout the day. Dehydration can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and sleepy.

                              So make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. Not sure how much to drink? This can help you:

                              How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day (and How Much Is Too Much for You)

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                              Think that you’ve been drinking too little water? Try these friendly reminders:

                              3 Best Apps To Help You Drink Much More Water

                              9. Eat energy-boosting snacks.

                              Nuts and fruits (like bananas, apples and strawberries) are sure bets. Pairings with staying power include baby carrots with a low-fat cream cheese dip; celery sticks with peanut butter; red peppers with hummus; and plain yogurt with granola.

                              Avoid carb-filled, sugary snacks that make you crash and leave you feeling tired.

                              Here you can find some healthy snack ideas:

                              25 Healthy Snack Recipes To Make Your Workday More Productive

                              Touch – Tactile Stimulation

                              Last but not least, your sense of touch will make you physically feel more energetic and less stressful.

                              10. Splash cold water on your face.

                              Do this in the morning, during bathroom breaks and in the afternoon. Being exposed to cold water pushes your body to adjust and regulate its internal temperature, which in turn keeps you alert.

                              This works the same as you take a cold shower to increase mood and alertness. Take a look at this article to learn more about it:

                              5 Surprising Benefits of Cold Showers

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                              11. Use acupressure.

                              Apply pressure to, massage, or tap on the stimulation points of your body. These include the top of your head, the back of your neck, the back of your hand (between the thumb and index finger), just below the knee and your earlobes.

                              Watch this video to learn about the acupressure points you can try:

                              12. Get moving.

                              Move away from your chair and stand, walk, run or climb the stairs. Feel the earth under your feet. Stretch and twist. Do jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups and back bends.

                              And if you need to move more discreetly, wiggle your feet, bounce your knee up and down, scrunch your toes, or cross your legs.

                              You can also try some simple stretches and exercises at your desk:

                              Unlike addictive caffeine fixes, these remedies activate your senses, engage your attention, amp up your energy and prevent morning grogginess and afternoon slumps without the side effects or health risks.

                              Pick a few ways from this list of suggestions and practice them consistently. And when you do this consistently, you’ll soon see the positive results — a more energetic and productive you at work.

                              Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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