Short Stretches to Avoid Low Back Pain

Short Stretches to Avoid Low Back Pain

Sitting still at an office desk is one of the worst things you can do for your body. If you are not careful about the way you sit, type, hold your phone, and do other repetitive tasks, you may be slowly damaging your muscles, bones and joints.

As more and more people have jobs that require them to sit in front of a computer for hours every day, there has been an increase in cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, and other stress related injuries caused by the strain of repetitive tasks and bad work habits.

One of the best ways to prevent such injuries is to take quick breaks during your work to do stretching exercises at your desk.

Each of these exercises only takes a few minutes. It is best to stretch every 30-60 minutes. Set an alarm on your cell phone or computer to remind yourself to get up and stretch.

Stand and sit

Stand up and sit back down without using your hands. This is a very simple exercise that can be challenging if you are not used to it.

Shoulder Shrug

  • Breathe in deeply as you shrug your shoulders. Try to lift them up to your ears.
  • Hold for five seconds.
  • Release and relax.
  • Repeat three times.

Nod and Shake

This exercise loosens up your neck.

  • Shake your head slowly from side to side several times.
  • Then nod your head up and down slowly several times.

Chin tuck

  • Keep your head level and look straight ahead.
  • Lower your chin to your chest.
  • Hold for 15 seconds.
  • Release and relax.

Head turn

  • Keep your head level and look straight ahead.
  • Turn your head to one side while keeping your shoulders straight.
  • Hold for 15 seconds.
  • Release and relax.
  • Repeat the turn in the opposite direction.

Hand Circles

  • Stretch both hands out in front of you.
  • Clench both hands into fists.
  • Make circles in the air with your fists, pivoting at your wrists.
  • Start in one direction ten times.
  • Then make circles in the opposite direction ten times.
  • Shake out your hands.

Finger Point

  • Stretch your left hand out in front of you, palm up.
  • Point your fingers back towards the floor.
  • Use your right hand to increase the stretch, pushing your fingers down and toward the body. Be gentle.
  • Repeat for the right hand.
  • Again, stretch your left hand out in front of you, palm up.
  • This time, bend your wrist with fingers pointing up.
  • Use your right hand to increase the stretch, pulling the fingers back toward your body.
  • Repeat for the right hand.

Torso Twist

  • Take a deep breathe in.
  • As you exhale, turn to the right.
  • Grab the back of your chair with your right hand, and at the same time grab the arm of your chair with your left hand.
  • Keep your eyes level.
  • Use your grip on the chair to twist your torso as far to the back of the room as possible
  • Slowly come back to facing forward.
  • Repeat for the left side.

Leg Extensions

  • Hold the seat of your chair with both hands.
  • Extend your legs straight in front of you until they are parallel with the floor.
  • Point your toes straight.
  • Flex your ankles so your toes point to the ceiling.
  • Repeat flexing and pointing five times.

Body Hug

  • Hug your own body by placing your right hand on your left shoulder and your left hand on your right shoulder.
  • Breathe in and out.
  • Focus on relaxing the area between your shoulder blades.

Arms Cross

  • Stretch your left arm straight in front of you.
  • Use your right hand to grab your left elbow.
  • Pull your left elbow across your chest to your right shoulder while keeping your arm straight.
  • Hold for ten seconds.
  • Release and relax.
  • Repeat for the right arm.

Upper arm stretch

  • Raise one arm above your head.
  • Bend it so your hand is behind your head.
  • Place your other hand on the bent elbow and push down to help stretch your upper arm and shoulder.
  • Hold for 15 seconds.
  • Release and relax.
  • Repeat for the other arm

Chest stretch

  • Place both hands behind your head.
  • Bring your elbows back as far as possible and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  • Hold for 15 seconds.
  • Release and relax.
  • Repeat for the other arm

Side neck stretch

  • Keep your head level and look straight ahead.
  • While keeping your shoulders level, tilt your head to the left. Try to touch your left ear to your left shoulder.
  • Hold for 15 seconds.
  • Release and relax.
  • Repeat the tilt to the right.

Lower back stretch

  • Sit forward in your chair.
  • Bring one of your knees to your chest.
  • Grab the back of your thigh with your hands and gently pull it toward you.
  • Keep your back straight, and do not lean forward.
  • Hold for 15 seconds.
  • Release and relax.
  • Repeat with the other leg.

Standing thigh stretch

  • Stand up straight
  • Placing one hand on a chair or desk for balance.
  • While standing straight, bend your knee back towards your buttocks.
  • Grab your ankle and pull it up as close to your buttocks as possible.
  • Keeping your back straight and your knees parallel to each other.
  • Hold for 15 seconds.
  • Release and relax.
  • Repeat for the other thigh.

Lookup

  • Sit up straight in your chair or stand up.
  • Straighten yourself by trying to touch the ceiling with the top of your head.
  • Stretch your arms above your head and interlock your fingers.
  • Turn your palms up as you lift your chin up.
  • Tilt your head back and look up at the ceiling.
  • Hold for 15 seconds.
  • Release and relax.

Remember that you are not a machine. Your body was not meant to stay in the same position for hours on end. Take care of your body by taking periodic breaks to stretch, and you can avoid many possible forms of injury.

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