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The average American sits for 12 hours a day, the majority of that being affected by the 8 hours most Americans are forced to do while at work. Humans are not meant to sit that long, and this is why we are developing pain from living this type of lifestyle.
Most chronic back pain cases are due to postural imbalances and muscle degeneration due to poor posture and a sedentary lifestyle. Yoga is one of the best practices you can implement into your life to combat this and treat it.
Yoga improves flexibility and range of motion, improves posture, relieves tightness, and loosens fascia. These are all crucial factor that are contributing to the discomfort you feel everyday!
The stretches I’m about to show you are basic postures that are used all the time in yoga. They will dramatically improve the way you feel if you implement them diligently and put effort into it.
They only take a few minutes to complete, and you can easily do them while sitting at your desk!
1.Open Chest Twist
Sit tall with feet flat on the floor, and bring your arms up behind your head. Push your chest up into the air and breathe into your ribs.
Exhale and twist slowly to each side.
You will feel a big stretch in your chest, upper back, shoulders, and definitely feel it in your sides when you twist.
Sitting at a desk and typing all day can cause poor posture by hunching over unintentionally, so doing a simple chest opener is a great way to combat this! The twist promotes blood flow and loosens up the entire back. Make sure to breathe into your ribs as you twist to get the full effect!
2.Reverse Elbow Grab
Another thing with sitting and typing all day is that it typically causes your shoulders to hunch up towards your ears. This exercise forces your shoulders to relax while opening the chest up as well.
Sit straight up with feet flat on the floor again, and bring your arms behind your back and try to grab both elbows.
If you can’t reach your elbows, grab your forearms, or your wrists- whatever is comfortable for you! As you practice more and more, you will begin to open your shoulders more and be able to go deeper
This is a great stretch for your sides, which are commonly very tight when you are sitting.
Sit with your feet on the floor and your hands straight up in your air. Bring your left hand down to touch your right foot while and reach your right hand higher up into the air. Bring your gaze to your right hand.
4.Seated Forward Fold
This is a simple relaxing pose that stretches both the back and neck.
From sitting position, slowly bring your hands down to the ground between your legs and let your upper body and neck hang.
When you have back pain, you need to realize that pain is caused from imbalances all over your body, NOT just your back. A stiff neck causes stiff shoulders, which causes imbalances in the back.
Neck rotations are very effective in releasing tension from your neck and shoulders. Make sure to do them slowly, and take the time to take notice of any specific areas that are tighter than others.
Use your left hand to gently pull your neck to the left, and then repeat on the other side. You can also include clockwise and counter clockwise rotations.
6.Seated Mini Bridge
Bridge pose is a pose usually done on the floor that is very effective in relieving back pain, but you can also easily do it at your desk! Just make sure to be careful if you have a chair with wheels.
Make sure to stable yourself with your feet grounded on the floor and place your hands on either sides, gripping the chair.
Engage your core as much as you can and use your abdominal muscles and glutes to slowly lift up from off your chair. Hold for a few breaths and then release back to sitting position.
7.Seated Half Forward Fold
This is a great stretch for those of you that have sciatica along with back pain. It stretches the piriformis muscle, a muscle in the gluteal region, while also stretching the hip.
Start in seated position and lift your right foot to sit on your left leg, left foot being flat on the floor. Slowly fold over and stay for a few breaths, then repeat on the other side.
Try these out while you are taking a quick break at work. It is so important to rest every 15-30 minutes from staring at your screen! Do these a few times a day and I guarantee you will feel a difference! Not only do they relax your body, but your mind as well, which is SO important to healing pain.
What other stretches or remedies do you practice to relieve pain?
Ally is the co-founder of Yoga Rove with her fiance Victor. She began practicing yoga at the beginning of her career as a Registered Nurse to cope with the physical and mental stress it put on her, and it quickly became apart of her life. Her goal is to help beginners develop a fulfilling practice without the intimidation. Besides managing this website, she loves hiking with her loving fiance and cuddling with her two silly cats.