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5 Stretches to Eliminate Backache at the Desk

18 July 2023

Backache remains one of the leading causes of workplace disability around the world. The condition affects nearly 65 million Americans and impacts the quality of life of 8 out of 10 individuals at some point during their lives.

And given that the condition is worsened due to inappropriate sitting positions and weak back muscles, backache threatens employees with a desk job (both at home and in the office) and students who are required to spend long hours at the desk.

Fortunately, there are ways to manage and even eliminate backache and live a healthy life. By incorporating good sitting practices and regular stretching into your routine, you can significantly improve your condition and your quality of life.

In what follows, we share an insight into best practices for sitting and the significance of incorporating best practices while sitting. Moreover, we look at how stretching aids in improving back pain and share a few stretches you can try at your desk.

So let's get started.

Best Practices for Sitting At a Desk

If you have a desk job but intend to stay healthy and keep the risk of developing backache at bay, you need to know how to sit at the desk.

Here are a few best practices you need to know to ensure that you maintain a proper posture while sitting.

Invest in an ergonomic office chair like Essential Office chair (C3) or any other ergonomic office chair by FlexiSpot that provides adequate lumbar support while sitting,

Maintain an upright position with your shoulders relaxed and your head aligned, so you don't have to slouch,

Position your monitor such that it is centered in from your body and doesn't strain your neck,

The top of your screen should be at your eye level,

Keep your arms rested at the armrest and wrist flat to reduce the risk of arm and shoulder strain and repetitive strain injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome,

Place your feet firmly on the ground, so your lower body is well-supported while you are sitting,

Continue to take regular breaks (once every 30-45 minutes), stretch your body and take a quick walk around.

The Significance of Incorporating Best Practices While Sitting

A sedentary lifestyle is linked to a wide range of health concerns, from obesity to cardiovascular diseases and musculoskeletal concerns.

Fortunately, by incorporating best practices while sitting, you can significantly reduce the risk of developing musculoskeletal concerns like backache.

By incorporating best practices while sitting,

You can provide adequate support to your spine, neck, and shoulders,

Ensures that your muscles, tendons, and ligaments are well-supported,

It helps keep blood flow regular and keeps your blood vessels and nerves healthy,

Reduces the risk of experiencing posture-related concerns like back and neck pain.

Benefits of Stretching

Apart from maintaining good sitting practices, stretching is a way to manage and eliminate backache associated with a desk job.

While stretching often doesn't break the sweat like other exercises, the lower intensity workout comes with a wide range of benefits, including the following.

Warms up the body before any medium-to-high intensity workout,

Increases blood flow to the muscles, which enhances the performance of your muscles to do everyday tasks,

Significantly reduces the risk of injuries,

It enhances the flexibility of your joints and increases their range of motion,

Aids in improving posture,

Helps manage stress and stress-related health concerns, including musculoskeletal concerns and tension headaches.

While there are certain benefits of stretching, one of the advantages that makes it a great workout practice is that you can do stretching anywhere, including at your desk.

Now that you know the benefits of stretching let's look at a few stretches you can try at your desk. These stretches are specifically focused on managing and eliminating backache.

5 Stretches to Eliminate Backache at the Desk

For your convenience, we have categorized desk stretches according to their position. The stretches are divided into seated, and standing desk stretches.

Seated Stretches

To eliminate backache, you need to have strong back muscles that can support the region. Some of the seated stretches that will take you closer to a strong back include the following.

1. Seated Pigeon Trunk Twist

This lower back stretching workout is one of the best sitting workouts that is an antidote to prolonged sitting. The stretch opens up your outer hip muscles and the rotators while giving your legs a good stretch.

To get started with a seated pigeon trunk twist, you need to

Sit upright with your feet firmly placed on the ground.,

Place your right ankle over your left thigh,

Now grab your right knee and gradually lift towards your body using both hands,

Inhale while stretching out your spine, and exhale while twisting the body gradually towards the right,

Hold the position for a few seconds and gradually return to your original position while inhaling,

Repeat the same steps for the left side of your body.

2. Downward Facing Dog Stretch

The seated downward-facing dog stretch makes an excellent sitting stretch that strengthens your arms and legs while fully stretching your spine. Moreover, it also stretches your hamstrings, hips, and calves while toning your ankles and quads along with your abdominal and arm muscles.

To try out this stretch, you need to

Sit upright with your feet firmly placed flat on the floor,

Now stretch and raise your hands over your head and gradually bend forward,

Continue to bend forward until your forearms reach your desk while your palms are facing down,

Stay in this position for a few seconds before releasing slowly to the original position,

Repeat the stretch 3-5 times.

3. Seated Neck and Back Bend

Prolonged sitting can stress neck and shoulder muscles and lead to a slouched neck, rounded shoulders, and back. Fortunately, a seated neck and back bend are one of the best stretches to help strengthen your neck and shoulder muscles to better support your upper spine.

The stretch targets the neck muscles, which connect to the ribs, and aids in relieving pain in your neck and shoulder.

To get started with this stretch, you need to sit at the edge of the chair while keeping your back straight,

Place your arms such that they are slightly behind you as you hold the edge of the chair,

Cover your left leg over your right leg,

Connect the outer ankle of your left leg to the outside shin of your right leg such that you can wrap your left foot around your right shin,

Inhale slowly while keeping your arms stretched as your back forms an arch,

By engaging your abs and core, stay in the same position for 3-5 seconds, and

Gradually return to your original position and repeat for the other side.

Standing Stretches

Apart from stretching exercises that you can try while sitting, here are a few standing stretches that you can try at your desk, which will help eliminate backache, including the following.

4. Standing Side Trunk Stretch

The standing side trunk stretch stretches and strengthens the lateral flexion muscles of the spine. Moreover, it is also an excellent stretch for strengthening the intercostal muscles, which can be found between the ribs.

To do the standing side trunk stretch, stand in an upright standing position while raising your hands towards the ceiling,

When you stretch your hands upwards, interlock your fingers such that your palms are facing the ceiling,

With your elbows straight, gradually bend your trunk to one side and continue to bend as far as you can,

Hold the position for a few seconds before you return to your original position,

Repeat the stretch on the other side.

5. Twister Pose Stretch

The twister pose stretch is excellent for your spine, upper torso muscles, and back muscles. Moreover, it also enhances the performance and strength of your hip and buttock muscles as well as your thighs. Furthermore, the stretch also aids in relieving stiffness in your neck and shoulder.

To go about the twister pose stretch, you need to stand straight with your feet together and hands by your side,

Bend your knees such that your thighs are parallel to the floor,

Now bring your hands together such that your thumbs touch your chest wall and your hands appear as if you are praying,

Twist your lower trunk to the left such that your right elbow should be outside your right knee while your left elbow is pointed upwards,

Hold the position for 30 seconds before repeating the stretch on the other side.

Final Words

The key to preventing back pain, especially when you are required to spend a lot of time sitting, is to follow good sitting practices while strengthening your back. Stretching is an effective way to strengthen your back without getting involved in any high-intensity workout, so you can try them out while working at your desk and get rid of backache to enjoy a healthy and happy life.