How a few back stretches at your desk can prevent pain
According to the American Chiropractic Association, 80 percent of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Itâ€™s also one of the most common reasons for missed work.
And itâ€™s not merely because people are forgetting to lift with their knees.
In fact, if youâ€™re reading this while sitting in front of your computer or craning your neck over your phone, you may be helping to lay the foundation for your own future discomfort.
Prolonged periods of sitting â€” done often in todayâ€™s office environment â€” have been linked to bad posture, poor circulation, and neck strain.
Thankfully, it doesnâ€™t take a lot to help prevent potential problems from occurring. Periodic stretching of the arms and upper back muscles, including the rhomboid and trapezius (or â€œtrapsâ€), should be part of your daily work regimen.
The key is to find a few easy exercises that youâ€™re comfortable doing at your desk, and then stick with them.
Here are four simple upper back muscle stretches that can be done just about anywhere you find yourself seated â€” in the office, on an airplane, or even at the kitchen table.
Just remember to take it slow whenever you begin a new exercise routine.
2. Shoulder shrugs
Think of these as something akin to pushups for your shoulders.
- With your feet flat on the ground, straighten your back and allow your arms to hang down at your sides.
- Inhale and hold your breath while bringing your shoulders straight up as high as possible, then squeeze them tight for about 2 seconds.
- Breathe out and just let your arms drop back down. Do about 8 to 10 shrugs per set.
For a bit more of a challenge, consider adding some lightweight dumbbells to the mix.
4. Butterfly wings
This stretch makes a nice compliment to neck rolls and helps to strengthen the rhomboid and pectoral muscles.
- Sit up straight and touch your fingertips to your shoulders with your elbows pointed out to the side.
- Keeping your fingers in place, exhale and slowly pull your elbows together in front of you until they touch.
- Breathe in and allow your arms to move to their original position.
Back pain is extremely common in todayâ€™s work environment. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to help relieve some of that tension and pain.
These exercises can help lingering back pain, but always talk to your doctor if the pain doesnâ€™t go away.
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