Sitting in a chair all day at work can cause poor posture, stiffness and lower back pain. According to The New York Times, you may want to wait on calling the doctor for pain medicine and instead increase your daily activity. Taking a break at work to stretch can ease pain, make you more productive and less prone to injury. You can do these six stretches to help back pain at the office and get blood flowing, ward off stiffness and hopefully keep your lower back pain at bay:
Rotating your upper body with or without swinging your arms can wring out the tightness in your lower back. You can do this at your standing desk.
- Step away from your desk and stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Cross your arms over your chest and keeping your feet and hips in place, rotate your trunk to the right until you feel a slight stretch in your lower back muscles.
- Hold for 30 seconds and return to center.
- Repeat, but this time rotate your trunk to the left.
- Repeat 3-5 times per side.
If you want a more invigorating stretch, let your arms dangle and rather than holding the twist, just swing through from side to side, rotating on the axis of your lower body. Bend your knees as you begin to rotate and straighten them as you return to center.
Rocking tension out of your pelvis can help your lower back feel better.
- Stand with your back to a wall, feet shoulder width apart, heels against the baseboard.
- Your bottom, head and shoulder blades should be touching the wall. Your lower back will not.
- Rock your pelvis so your lower back presses into the wall.
- Rock it back to the starting position.
- Repeat 5 times.
The standing trunk extension takes the pressure off your lumbar spine.
- Stand tall with your feet directly beneath your shoulders.
- Place your palms on your pelvis, fingers pointing down.
- Press your hands into the pelvis as you lean back and arch your lower back.
- Hold for as long as you are comfortable and come back slowly.
- Repeat as needed
Like these other stretches to help back pain, this one gets your body moving in subtle ways that increase blood flow and warm up the lower back.
- Sit up straight in a chair and lift one leg, knee bent, grabbing the back of your thigh and slowly pulling it towards your chest. Do not lean forward.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
- Release the leg gently back to where you started.
- Repeat on the other side.
Keyhole Hip Stretch
One cause of lower back pain is tight hips; here's how to open them.
- Sit in a chair without arms and place both feet on the floor.
- Bring one leg up and place that ankle on your other knee letting the elevated knee fall outward. If your knee hurts, stop.
- Gently press the elevated knee toward the floor.
- Hold for as long as it feels good and repeat on other side.
Release the Hammies
Another cause of lower back pain is tight hamstrings. You can use a staircase for this exercise.
- Stand close to the wall on the first step facing upstairs, feet parallel and about 1-2 inches apart.
- Hold the banister.
- Slide one foot back so the ball of your foot is resting on the step and your heel is dangling.
- Press your heel toward the floor gently.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Try pressing down both heels at the same time.