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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 May 22, 2019

                              10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

                              10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

                              There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

                              One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

                              In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

                              Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

                              1. Cat Camel Stretch

                              Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

                              Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

                              Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

                              Here’s a video to guide you through:

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                              2. Go for a Walk or a Run

                              This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

                              Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

                              The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

                              Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

                              Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

                              3. Jumping Jacks

                              Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

                              Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

                              4. Abductor Side Lifts

                              Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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                              Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

                              5. Balancing Table Pose

                              This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

                              Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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                                6. Leg Squats

                                Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

                                Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

                                The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

                                7. Push Ups

                                You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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                                An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

                                Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

                                This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

                                8. Bicycle Crunches

                                There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

                                Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

                                9. Lunges

                                Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

                                Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

                                This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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                                10. Bicep Curls

                                You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

                                Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

                                Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

                                Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

                                Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

                                These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

                                You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

                                Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

                                More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

                                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                                Reference

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