Whether you’re working from your bed, couch, or at-home office, sitting for long periods of time can have detrimental effects on your back, and cause significant pain. According to Spineuniverse, almost 70% of people sit for 6 or more hours a day, and this behavior can cause the back muscles to weaken. Amid COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders, it can be easier to sit in bed or at your home office desk for even longer periods of time, because there may be less reasons to get up than what you are accustomed to in the office. To help prevent back pain from being sedentary for too long, make sure that you are not only getting up more frequently throughout the day, but that you are stretching and strengthening the muscles that can be negatively affected by prolonged sitting.
One question people working from a desk should address is how often should you stretch for these exercises to be effective? According to Harvard Health Publishing, adults should stretch at least 3 times a week, and hold each stretch for a total of 60 seconds. If you cannot hold a stretch for 60 seconds, the time can be broken up into smaller increments, so you can do 3 sets of 20 seconds as well. Remember that consistency is crucial to helping strengthen your muscles, so it is recommended that you try to incorporate these stretches into your daily routines.
Try these five easy yoga stretches three times a week, and see how your back strengthens. Be sure to implement these stretches into your routine, even when you’re able to work in the office again. If you are new to yoga, or are unsure if these stretches are within your activity range, be sure to consult your doctor before trying these exercises.
Start with your feet flat on the floor, shoulders relaxed, hands at your sides. Slowly shift your weight to your left foot and bend down until you can touch your right ankle. Guide your right foot up your left inner leg until it is just above or below your left knee.
Center your pelvis over your left foot, and align your hips. Find your center, and then slowly unbend until you are standing tall. Gazing at a fixed point in front of you, place your hands on your chest or bring them together over your head.
Keeping your heels aligned, stand with your feet spread far apart. Turn your right foot so that your toes are facing the front of the mat, and keep your right leg unbent. Turn your left foot so that the toes are facing ahead of you.
Arch your feet, keeping them on the floor. Stretch your arms out at shoulder height, so that your right hand is over your right foot, and your left hand is over your left foot. They should be parallel to the floor. Reach with your right hand and angle your left hip back, so that your right hand rests on your right ankle. Keep your torso on the same plane as your legs.
Stand with your feet spread apart, with your right foot in front of you and your left foot behind. Raise your arms above your head, bringing your shoulders down. Turn your left foot 45 degrees to the right, and your right foot 90 degrees to the right. Turn your hips so that they are as parallel as possible with your right foot. Bend your right knee so your lower leg is perpendicular to your mat.
While lying on your back, angle your hips and reach with your legs until your toes touch the floor in front of your head. Keeping your toes on the floor, stretch your thighs toward the sky, and your groin toward your pelvis
Lengthen your neck by keeping your head away from your chest. Stretch your hands out on the floor behind you, and use them to support yourself by pressing them down.
This one is probably as simple as it gets in yoga (besides corpse pose – which is basically just lying on your back). Yet, as simple as it is, it can (as with the above poses) help tremendously with chronic back pain.
Sit with your shins crossed, and each foot under the opposite knee. Pull your shins toward you. Keep your spine straight, and lay your hands on your knees. Keeping your shoulders down, and take deep breaths!
If you have continued back pain and need medical assistance, Healthpointe’s back, neck, and pain management services can help you find the right relief and treatment you need. To make an appointment, please call (888) 824-5580 or click here to schedule.