When working at a desk or a sedentary job, back, neck and shoulder pain can develop along with a poor posture. These aches and pains can lead to a less productive work day. As a result, it is important to take frequent breaks to move around and stretch. This helps to maintain spinal mobility and relax muscles, reducing the strain placed on tissues and therefore pain.
The exercises below can help to reduce pain and increase comfortability whilst working at a desk for prolonged periods of time. It is recommended to perform these stretches every couple of hours during desk work, in order to maintain concentration as well as reducing the strain on muscles.
Assisted trunk rotation
- Sit on your chair with your spine in a neutral position and your chin slightly tucked into your chest.
- Moving from the middle of your back, turn the upper body to one side. Hold onto the back of the chair and increase the stretch by pulling yourself towards it.
- Return to the initial position and repeat towards the other side.
- Perform this stretch at least 5 times to either side.
Levator Scapulae Stretch
- Sit tall and hold the bottom of the chair with one hand to lower the shoulder.
- Turn your head towards and take your ear towards the opposite shoulder until a stretch is felt.
- Apply gentle pressure to the head with the other hand if needed.
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
- Sit tall on a chair and cross your arms across your chest, with your hands on your shoulders.
- Slowly lift your elbows and look up towards the ceiling.
- Return to the neutral position and repeat 10 times.
Posterior Shoulder Stretch
- Sit tall on a chair and bring one arm across your body at shoulder height.
- Use the other hand to slightly push on the elbow to increase the stretch.
- Hold the position for 30 seconds and repeat with the other arm.
- Standing, lace your fingers together behind your back.
- Push your hands down and away from your body, with your knuckles facing towards you, and push your shoulders back.
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
A combination of regular stretching and a good desk set up can help to make sitting for prolonged periods of time much more comfortable. As well as this, ensure your posture is correct with your hips above your knees and feet flat on the floor. You should also sit right back in the chair and the curve of the backrest should fit with the curve of your lower back. Keep your shoulders relaxed and elbows at 90 degrees just above the desk.
These simple steps can increase the productivity of your workday and reduce the strain placed on your muscles whilst sat at a desk.
As for any exercise, if you experience any pain, please don’t push through it. If you have any questions or would like to book in to see Amber please visit www.reformphysio.co.uk or call us on 01799530650
Author – Amber Murray