Working in front of a computer can be surprisingly hard on your body, especially if your posture is less than ideal. Hunching your shoulders, slumping in your seat, or bending over too far can cause pain all the way down your back, from the neck and shoulders to the lower back. It is also a common cause of headaches. Fortunately, regularly stretching coupled with regular breaks can go a long way toward reducing these issues. Here are some basic stretches you can do in the office.
Set an alarm to go off every 45 minutes to an hour, and be sure to stop and stretch every time the alarm sounds. Hold each for at least 15 seconds, and do as many reps as you can without pain.
The muscles across the chest are often the first to tighten up from a hunched posture. Seated or standing, straighten your arms behind you and interlace your fingers. Raise your hands up as high as possible, until you feel a stretch across your chest. If you have shoulder problems or are very tight across the chest, you can use a doorway instead. Simply press your forearms into the doorway at shoulder height, and lean forward until you feel a stretch.
Shoulder shrugs are an excellent way to relieve tension through the traps. Seated or standing, shrug your shoulders as hard as possible and hold for two seconds, then gently relax them down. After 10 reps, roll your shoulders in forward circles to release.
Upper Back Stretch
This will further release all the muscles of the shoulders and upper back. Seated or standing, stretch your arms straight out in front of you. Turn the backs of your hands toward each other and then cross your arms to press the palms together. Now tighten your abs and round your back as if curving around an imaginary ball.
The spinal twist is an excellent way to release tight muscles in your lower back. Sitting with your feet flat and your hips square, place your hands on the right arm of your chair and rotate your torso to the right. Hold for at least 15 seconds, and then repeat to the left.
Dropping your head forward while on your computer or mobile device puts extra strain on the neck muscles. To work it out, grasp the right side of your chair with your right hand while gently tilting your head to the left. Hold for at least 15 seconds, and then repeat to the opposite side.
If you only have time for a single stretch, this is an excellent choice, as it will stretch all of the muscles in your back, arms, and sides. Seated or standing, lace your fingers together and stretch them toward the sky as you inhale deeply. Then exhale as you open your arms to the sides and sweep them back down.
Sitting at a computer can wreak havoc on your body, especially if your workstation is not fully ergonomic. Fortunately, a few simple stretches can help to relieve the tension and pain. If these self-care measures do not fully relieve your distress, though, consider seeking physical therapy. An experienced physical therapist can use a combination of manual techniques and targeted exercises to banish your office related pains for good.
Founded by physical therapy innovator Dr. Joseph Simon, the Manhattan Physical Therapy and Pain Center is a leader in pain relief and injury recovery conveniently located in Midtown Manhattan. We offer several dedicated programs for different conditions, along with the latest innovations in physical therapy for all. If you are ready for the latest treatments for pain or injury, call us today at (212) 213-3480 to learn how we can help.