Have you ever come home from a day at the office with a sore back or neck? It’s common to experience pain in these areas after sitting bent over a desk for 8 or 9 hours each day. Poor posture is a major cause of back and neck pain. We spend about two-thirds of our day sedentary and in the same position, and when we practice bad posture on a regular basis, our bodies begin to adapt. When the body can adapt no further, you will begin to feel painful symptoms.
You can help relieve this stress on your spine by practicing simple exercises in the workplace. These exercises will help you “re-train” your body to adapt better posture and help alleviate some of this pain.
This photo shows the muscles that become overly tight from poor posture, and the muscles that are weak, or inactive.
Here are four exercises you can do at work and at home to keep you and your spine happy and healthy:
Brugger’s Postural Relief Position
- Sit with your sit bones at the edge of a chair.
- Rock your pelvis forward into a tilt.
- Next, tuck your chin in and turn your hands outward, pointing your thumbs behind you. Spread your fingers as wide as possible.
- Now hold this position for 10 seconds, then relax. You can do it again after 30 seconds of rest time if desired. When you relax, try not to go back to your slouching posture and remain upright.
- You can also practice this exercise while standing, but sitting is ideal.
Piriformis and Gluteus Stretch
- While you sit on a chair, bring your knees to your chest, crossing your left leg over your right and placing your left ankle and foot on your right knee.
- Then, reach under your right thigh and pull it toward your chest. You should begin to feel a stretch in your gluteal region. (If you don’t feel the stretch in your buttocks, then you aren’t in the right position.)
- Repeat the same stretch on the other leg.
- Begin by standing upright and crossing your right leg behind your left.
- Put your weight on the right leg and lean forward slightly and to the left while pushing your right hip outward.
- Your left foot should be parallel to your right. You should feel the stretch in your right hip and through the outside of your thigh.
- Repeat this stretch on the other leg.
Seated Rotation Stretch
- Sit in a chair with proper posture.
- Now, tuck your chin down toward your chest.
- Use one hand to push your head further backward.
- Now you will place your hand on the left side of your head and turn slowly to the right until you reach maximum resistance. You want to move further each time without causing excess pain.
- Return to your original position and repeat this exercise on the other side.
- Repeat on each side for 6-8 reps.
- If you begin to feel pain in your shoulders or arms, stop!
Try working these simple exercises into your daily routine at work to help relieve some of the stress of poor posture. None of these exercises should be painful, and you should always consult a physician before starting any exercise routine. After practicing these exercises for a few weeks, you should start to see improvements in your posture and find relief from your pain.
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