If you spend the majority of your workday sitting down, you may be at risk of skeletal malalignment and muscular imbalances that can result in significant neck and back pain. In addition to being in a sitting position throughout the day, having bad posture can also have an impact, since people have the tendency to slump down in their chairs and allow their shoulders to come forward, causing their necks to look relatively upward.
Aside from upgrading to a standing-up desk or taking “walk breaks” once every couple of hours, there are a few simple exercises to thwart imbalances associated with excessive sitting. However, it is important not to stretch too aggressively. Instead, just stretch mildly.
For optimal benefit, perform five to ten reps of each of the following stretches. Hold each stretch for 10 seconds. Avoid stretching more than twice in a day.
The following are five stretches you can do at work to protect your neck and back:
- Neck stretch. Tuck your chin down toward your throat and rotate the head toward each ear. Then, place your hand on the back of your head to provide a light, gentle downward force.
- Tilt your head. Sit up tall and allow you head to tilt toward the right or left shoulder. You should feel a sensation on the side opposite of the way you are tilting. You may use your hand as added pressure to assist in stretching.
- Shoulder blade pinches. Sit or stand straight up, then pinch your shoulder blades together and back. You will feel your shoulders roll back.
- Pec stretch. Stand in a doorway and position your forearms against the door frame, with your elbows at shoulder height. With one foot forward, pinch your shoulder blades together on your back and mildly lean into the door.
- Seated pigeon stretch. Sit up tall, then cross your right leg so your right ankle is resting on your left thigh. Keep your back nice and straight and use your arms to keep your right leg horizontal. Then, pivot your hips (not your back) and lean forward to increase the stretching sensation.
Our Virginia minimally invasive spine center is committed to helping their patients resolve their neck and back issues by providing informative and effective advice to prevent further pain. If you are experiencing a severe case of neck or back pain, schedule a visit with our doctor immediately.
For more information about how to protect your neck and back at work, contact SonoSpine® today.