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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

                              A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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                              Last Updated on September 10, 2019

                              7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

                              7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

                              Most of your reality is not a given. It is shaped by your expectations, beliefs and thoughts you have formed about it. A big chunk of these beliefs and expectations are encoded into habits you integrate in your daily life.

                              Yes, some of these habits are formed unconsciously and can be counter-productive or limiting but conversely, you can consciously form positive habits that will transform and empower your life significantly.

                              This is a powerful point of departure that more and more people are becoming aware of. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be.

                              One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practising and maintaining daily rituals. Ancient traditions had clearly understood the power of rituals in reinforcing habits and changing the way we see and create our reality a long, long time ago.

                              Once again, if you look into the life history of any highly successful individual, you will find some form of ritual in their daily routine. Some of these rituals may seem banal or eccentric but don’t be deceived by appearances. Rituals are one of the most effective self-empowering tools freely available at the practitioner’s disposal – that is, you!

                              Below are some the easiest yet life-changing morning rituals you can do every day. Of course, you can have your own afternoon or bed-time rituals but morning rituals are extremely effective in empowering your day since they help you charge yourself before it all starts.

                              1. Gratitude

                              Feeling gratitude and appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in your life is probably one of the most overlooked or underestimated rituals. It is a perfect morning ritual to start your day on a very positive key.

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                              The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life – what is in tune with your being as a whole. It is selectively positive. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those awesome things, small or big, that grace your everyday living.

                              Quite often, we just pick out the pain points, the problems, the bottle necks, whatever it is that is not working in our life and causing friction, anxiety and unhappiness. This is like constantly rewriting the script of your life with a negative or tragic overtone. Your subconscious mind follows faithfully that script you write whether it is a negative or positive one.

                              So feeling gratitude is undoubtedly an immensely empowering ritual. Start your day by being thankful for those positive things that happened the previous day or throughout the week. It could be something really petty and small. It doesn’t matter. You might be grateful for an unexpected visit from an old friend, a beautiful encounter with a kind stranger, a new opportunity or whatever it is that shines your way. Do it every morning and see what happens during the day.

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                                2. Writing Down Your Most Important Tasks

                                This is a very practical ritual. Start your day by identifying and writing down from one to three of the most important tasks you need to complete during that day. These tasks are ones which support important long term goals that are aligned to your purpose, passion or general direction in life.

                                For example, if writing a book or building an online community are important long term goals which are aligned to your personal growth, then an important task for the day might be finishing off a particular page or two of the book or coming up with fresh content ideas for the online community.

                                What is important with this ritual is that you identify these tasks and complete them as early in the day as possible. Of course, you will have other tasks apart from the ones you will write down but, these are tasks which can be tackled later or batched up and carried out in one go.

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                                Writing down your most important tasks in the morning helps you focus your day and life according to what is essential. It helps you prioritize and manage your time better. As a result, you simplify your life by applying your focus and energy on what really counts for your overall life progress.

                                3. Affirm Your Goals in Writing or Drawing

                                This is similar to the previous idea but different in its application and purpose. Writing down your most important tasks of the day is a way to have a concrete structure of action to follow. Affirming your goals, on the other hand, is a very powerful way of crystallizing your vision and goals in life into your everyday mental space.

                                Writing down or doodling your goals on a piece of paper helps you externalize those goals by giving them form. In return, they are reflected back in your subconscious mind and thus, reinforcing them and integrating them more wholly.

                                An example of this would be writing down “I am achieving greater success in my career” or “I am becoming healthier and stronger through my exercise.” Notice the present tense being used as a way to tell yourself you are in the process already. Remember the life script we subconsciously follow? You are basically modifying the script to be applied now in the present.

                                Drawing or doodling can be equally, or even more, effective  (if you are more of a visual person) as it summarizes a graphical representation of your goals. For example, if your goal is to build a new house or live in another country, you can draw the house or draw things that symbolise the country you want to live in.

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                                  4. Practice Qi Gong Exercises

                                  According to Chinese philosophy, Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) means the life force or energy inherent in all things;[1] and Qi Gong is the practice to cultivate and circulate that energy in your body. This may sound esoteric or complicated but actually, Qi Gong is really a set of simple exercises aimed at increasing your health and vitality.

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                                  There are numerous forms and practices available for free through the online media. As a morning ritual, I recommend following these simple exercises by Qi Gong master Lee Holden:

                                  5. Drink Hot Water with Lemon

                                  Simply add a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water and drink one every morning. This is a very simple ritual I follow faithfully every morning.

                                  Apart from being a good source of vitamin C and a great way of flushing out toxins in the morning, it balances and maintains the PH levels in the body, reduces pain and inflammation in joints and knees and helps nourishing brain and nerve cells. Here are some more benefits of drinking hot water with lemon.

                                  6. Rise Earlier

                                  The practical advantages of waking up early are obvious.

                                  For example, you gain more time for doing exercise such as walking, cycling or Qi Gong as suggested above. You gain more time to be with yourself to reflect, meditate or, more importantly, carry out the other morning rituals.

                                  So rising early can be seen as a foundation for all the other morning rituals. Many, like myself, find that they are more productive in the early hours of the day.

                                  Also, various studies have shown that there are many other benefits from waking up an hour or two earlier in the morning. Sleeping early and waking up early helps the body attune with the earth’s circadian rhythms thus, promoting more restorative sleep. Other curious results from such studies show, for instance, that early risers tend to be more optimistic and can anticipate and solve problems more efficiently than the norm.[2]

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                                  7. Listen to Uplifting Music

                                  Uplifting music can have a direct impact on our mood, especially in the morning. It charges us emotionally and tunes us into a more positive outlook of the day ahead.

                                  Most people wake up to music or listen to music as they commute to work. Very often, however, they tune in to a radio or randomly pick a playlist from their device. Being more selective and conscious of the music you listen to in the morning can have a great impact on your day and life in general.

                                  It’s funny how we try to choose music according to our mood. For example if you are feeling down or disappointed by something, you are more prone to listen to music that reflects that mood – for instance blues, sad songs or downtempo music. This has the effect of reinforcing that mood. What you need to do is the exact opposite and retune your mood by listening to music that beats to a different tune than that mood.

                                  Try to listen to more uplifting music in the morning even if, or especially if, your mood does not dictate so.

                                  More About Energetic Habits & Rituals

                                  Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

                                  Reference

                                  [1] Live Science: What Is Qi Gong
                                  [2] Harvard Business Review: Defend Your Research: The Early Bird Really Does Get the Worm

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