Top 10 stretches for office workers Wellbeing made simple

22nd july 2022

Top 10 Stretches for office workers


Whether you’re sat at home or in an office, you’re likely familiar with neck and back pain. Officer workers around the globe struggle with a range of musculoskeletal issues. In fact, work-related musculoskeletal disorders are on the rise among adults, with 1.71 billion people around the world struggling with at least one condition.

According to the World Health Organization, lower back pain is the most prevalent problem affecting 568 million people. Given the number of adults who work desk jobs, it’s unsurprising that their shoulders, necks, and backs are quite literally bearing the weight of their work environment.

While you may not be able to completely prevent sitting at a desk, you can follow some osteo tips to improve posture and alleviate pressure on the bones and joints.

In this post, we will explore 10 of the best stretches for neck pain and best stretches for back pain, so you can have a great post-work stretch every day. Be sure to also perform these whenever you need to at the office or working from home.

Stretch to Undo the Damage From the Desk

Sitting for long periods of time places immense pressure on the joints, and it can lead to ongoing neck, shoulder, and back pain. Persistent discomfort can even start to affect your ability to exercise and your sleep quality.

Being able to find freedom from the confines of a desk job starts with restoring mobility and flexibility throughout your body.

Workplace stress has transformed in many ways, even for those who have since returned to the office after lockdown. Now more than ever, we need consistent ways to ease stress, balance our energies, and protect our mental and physical health.

Stretching helps promote better circulation, release tension, and reduce inflammation throughout the body. It also helps your muscles work more efficiently, particularly if many of them are not engaged as they were designed to be due to a stationary day job.


Top 5 Best Neck Stretches


1. Neck Rotations

Gently rotate your neck from side to side, then around in a gentle circle. You can also try tracing some air circles with your nose, paying close attention to the muscles in your neck as you move your head.

Be mindful of posture before practising this stretch; it’s important to sit upright, lower your shoulders, and have your neck even over your torso — not leaning forward, as so many of us do at our desks.


2. Shoulder Shrug

The neck can create a great deal of tension in the shoulders, and vice-versa. In order to break the painful connection, start in a seated position. Then, gently raise one shoulder up to the ear as comfortably as you can.

Notice the feeling in the neck as you hold this for 5 to 10 seconds.

Gently lower your shoulder, being mindful of the neck muscles as they ease to let the shoulder relax. Repeat on the other side.

You can also practise raising both shoulders at once, holding for up to 10 seconds, and gently releasing as you exhale.


3. Chin-to-Chest Stretch

As you’re seated, lower your chin to point directly at your chest. You should feel a stretch in the back of your neck. Stretch as far as you’re comfortable, and hold for several breaths. Gently release by raising your head to a neutral position.


4. Open the Shoulders

A shoulder-opening exercise is great for the neck and torso. Your chest can feel tight and restricted after hours at a desk. This can, in turn, leave your neck feeling more tense as well as it holds up your shoulders.

You can sit or stand for this stretch. Simply move your arms behind you, clasp your palms, and lift your chin toward the ceiling. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds.

Next, stretch your arms outwards, clasping the palms once more. This time, angle your chin toward your chest. Hold for 10 seconds, or as long as you are comfortable. Then release.


5. Side-to-Side Tilt

Gently move your neck from side to side without turning your head. Your face should remain facing forward as you slowly guide the neck muscles to extend to the right, then to the left. Repeat for several tilts to ease tension in the lower neck and shoulder region.


Top 5 Best Back Stretches


1. Standing Hip Flexor Stretch

Stand in front of your desk, and reach your leg back toward your rear. Hold at the ankle. This can open your hips while taking pressure off your lower spine. It can also help loosen stiff feet that have grown tired from sitting.

Hold for 10 seconds, or as long as you are comfortable. You can also shorten your stretch, rest, and repeat if holding this pose consecutively is difficult or uncomfortable for you.


2. Standing Back Stretch

Similar to a forward fold in yoga, this stretch helps safely offload weight from the lower back.

Begin by standing in front of your desk, an arm’s length away. Then, gently fold forward, letting your palms rest on the desk for support.

In this folded position, you should have your spine completely neutral. Slightly bend at the knees for a deeper stretch that eases even more tension. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds.


3. Upper Back Stretch

While the lower back tends to bother desk workers the most, the upper back plays a crucial role in posture, chest tightness, shoulder pain, and neck stiffness. So, opening your upper back with this stretch can lead to more fluidity and less tension in all of those areas.

In a seated or standing position, move your arms forward, then link your fingers together with your thumbs pointed downwards.

Gently reach forward, rounding the shoulders as you do. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds.


4. Spinal Twist

This rotational stretch allows you to gently work some tension out of your middle and lower back. Begin seated, with both feet on the ground, facing forward.

Contract your abdominal muscles, and gently move your torso to the right. Do not overextend this stretch. The goal is not to constrict the spine. Instead, you are moving with your body’s natural range of motion.

Only twist as far as you can without moving your hips, keeping the spine aligned. You can use the edges of your seat for stability. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Note: If you have any spine injuries or nerve compression, do not perform this move without the guidance of a physiotherapist.


5. Seated Cat-Cow Pose

This quintessential yoga pose can be an excellent seated back stretch as well. Move to the edge of your seat, shoulders neutral, spine aligned. From there, inhale, rotate forward as your belly expands, and you shift your gaze and chin up toward the ceiling. Hold for a breath, then exhale and return to your starting position.

Next, you can inhale, move back, gently arching the spine like a cat. Hold this pose for a breath, exhale, and release. This can open the shoulders as well as release tension along the spine.

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