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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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                              Last Updated on March 13, 2019

                              How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                              How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                              Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                              You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                              Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                              1. Work on the small tasks.

                              When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                              Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                              2. Take a break from your work desk.

                              Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                              Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                              3. Upgrade yourself

                              Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                              The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                              4. Talk to a friend.

                              Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                              Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                              5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                              If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                              Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                              Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                              6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                              If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                              Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                              Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                              7. Read a book (or blog).

                              The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                              Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                              Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                              8. Have a quick nap.

                              If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                              9. Remember why you are doing this.

                              Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                              What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                              10. Find some competition.

                              Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                              Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                              11. Go exercise.

                              Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                              Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                              As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                              Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                              12. Take a good break.

                              Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                              Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                              Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                              Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                              More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                              Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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