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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 September 20, 2018

                              How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

                              How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

                              Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

                              If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

                              1. Breathe

                              The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

                              • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
                              • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
                              • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

                              Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

                              2. Loosen up

                              After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

                              Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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                              3. Chew slowly

                              Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

                              Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

                              Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

                              4. Let go

                              Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

                              The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

                              It’s not. Promise.

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                              Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

                              Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

                              21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

                              5. Enjoy the journey

                              Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

                              Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

                              6. Look at the big picture

                              The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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                              Will this matter to me…

                              • Next week?
                              • Next month?
                              • Next year?
                              • In 10 years?

                              Hint: No, it won’t.

                              I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

                              Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

                              7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

                              You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

                              Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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                              8. Practice patience every day

                              Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

                              • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
                              • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
                              • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

                              Final thoughts

                              Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

                              Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

                              Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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