Back pain can be caused by carrying too much weight, arthritis and bad posture. When you sit at your desk for long periods it causes muscle tension in your back. With bad posture this tension is increased, which causes blood vessels and nerves to constrict, leading to pain.  

Even before computer screens took over our lives, people still jutted their chins down or forward to eat, read, drive, etc, which causes tension and localised pain that can spread to the upper, mid spine and lower back. 

The following four easy muscle stretches can be done almost anywhere you’re sitting, whether at work, in a plane, or at home at the dinner table. The secret is to start slowly, and do these stretches on a sturdy chair. With all of these stretches, the feet are planted firmly on the floor.

1. Neck and chest stretch

This stretch works your trapezius, scapulae, pectorals and erector spinal muscles, and gently works your obliques.

  1. Sit up straight, bringing your hands to the base of your skull, intertwining your fingers with your thumbs next to your ears and pointing down your neck. Let your headrest back in your hands in a relaxed pose and face the ceiling 
  2. Take a deep breath and while breathing out, ease your left elbow to point more toward the floor with your right elbow up towards the ceiling. This is a supportive way to stretch your neck. It should be an easy movement, and if your elbows only move a few centimetres it’s ok. It shouldn’t be painful. 
  3. Take two deep breaths and ease back into a neutral position with a straight spine.
  4. Do the same on the other side and repeat three times per side.

2. Gentle back bending

Hunching your back causes muscles to tense and this gentle backbend can counteract that. It works the anterior neck muscles, spinal extensors, and pectorals.

  1. Sit with your palms at your lower back, fingers facing the floor and thumbs around your waist press your palms firmly into your back and breathe in.
  2. Arch your spine as you exhale, tilt your chin up so you’re looking at the ceiling with your head gently dropping back. The bend should be felt through the upper and mid-spine. Hold for five deep breaths and gently come back to neutral and repeat three to five times.

3. Back reach

This increases shoulder extension, opens up the chest, works the postural muscles, and gives your anterior deltoids and pectorals a satisfying stretch.

  1. Sit with a straight spine and breathe in deeply. As you breathe out, interlace your hands behind your back and take another deep breath. 
  2. Feel your spine lengthen as you sit taller. 
  3. Rollback your shoulders and move the blades down your back. Gently straighten your arms as you breathe out, this will stretch your upper back muscles.
  4. Take three deep breaths, release your hands and return to neutral.
  5. Repeat three times.

4. Sitting Cat-Cow

Some people with poor posture stand with a “flat pelvis” which causes lower back pain. Cat-Cow stretches can help to loosen taut lower back muscles and some core muscles. 

  1. Place your hands on your knees which are at a 90-degree angle. Turn your hands inwards so your fingers point at each other, and the heel of your hands point to the outside of your thighs.
  2. Breathe in and press into your hands, arching your back as you exhale and face the ceiling.
  3. Inhale again and roll your shoulders, pulling your navel towards your spine. Drop your chin to your chest and push with your hands toward your knees.
  4. Repeat, reversing the motion, three to five times.

Author’s Bio 

Alex Morrison has worked with a range of businesses including real estate, health care and business consultants. He has used his knowledge and experience to work for clients as diverse as Hale Corp, The Principle Four and Models & Hobbies 4 U to help them reach their business goals.

7 Stretching & Exercise to Relieve in Lower Back Pain

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Mick created TAGG - The Alternative Gig Guide in 1979 with Helmut Katterl, the world's first real Street Magazine. He had been involved with his fathers publishing business, Toorak Times and associated publications since 1972.  Mick was also involved in Melbourne's music scene for a number of years opening venues, discovering and managing bands and providing information and support for the industry. Mick has also created a number of local festivals and is involved in not for profit and supporting local charities.