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4 Back Stretches for the Office

Fitday Editor
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Back stretches can be useful for office workers, since sitting at a desk all day can make your back ache. Many helpful back stretches can be performed right at your desk. If you have a chance to leave your desk, you can perform some office stretches in the break room or stairwell. Here are some helpful office stretches to relieve back pain.

1 Seated Twists

Twists relieve tension along the entire length of the spine. You should do them carefully, however, as twisting improperly can cause disk injury. Keep your spine straight while twisting, and never force your spine into a twist. Your spine should do the twisting all by itself.

  • Sit upright in your chair with your head erect.
  • Twist to one side. Don't force the twist; only twist as far as you comfortably can without pushing it.
  • You can place opposite hand on opposite knee if you like, but don't exert any pressure on the hand.
  • Turn your head into the twist. Look into the corners of your eyes to help treat and prevent eyestrain.
  • Breathe deeply and fully into the twist. Take about ten to fifteen deep breaths.
2 Shoulder Shrugs

Shoulder shrugs can help relieve tension in the neck, shoulders and upper back.

  • Sit upright in your chair. Square your shoulders.
  • Roll your shoulders forward slightly and up towards your ears.
  • Drop your shoulders by rolling them back slightly and allowing them to relax down again.
  • Repeat the shoulder shrug ten to fifteen times. Reverse direction and repeat again.
3 Eagle Arms

You can release tension from your upper back by performing this stretch borrowed from yoga.

  • Sit upright. Extend your arms in front of you, and cross your left bicep over your right bicep.
  • Bend your elbows so that your left elbow rests inside your right elbow.
  • Wrap your right forearm around your left forearm and grasp your left palm with your right palm.
  • Lift both arms upward to intensify the stretch, remembering to breathe slowly and deeply into the shoulder blades.
4 Standing Hamstring Stretch

Tight hamstrings can contribute to lower back pain and postural problems. You can perform standing hamstring stretches in just a few minutes during your breaks.

  • Stand in front of your desk; you may want to remove your shoes.
  • Raise your right leg and place your right heel on the edge of the desk. Keep the leg straight.
  • Some people may find that this alone produces an intense stretch in the hamstrings. If it doesn't, you can perform one of the additional steps below.
  • Keep the extended leg straight. Bend your standing leg, lowering your torso for a more intense stretch in the hamstring.
  • Keep your spine straight and pull your abdomen in toward your spine. Lean forward, sliding your hands down the extended leg as far as you can without curving your spine. If possible, grasp the foot with both hands.
  • Hold this stretch for ten to fifteen breaths, breathing into the hamstrings. Repeat the stretch on the other leg.

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