Working at a computer all day can be a literal pain in the neck.
Sitting at a desk for extended periods of time can disrupt posture, leading to hunching and the need to pop your neck when you feel a little tightness coming on.
“The issue that we’re really up against is that we’re not made to sit—certainly not for extended periods of time,” said Michael Fredericson, sports medicine physiatrist at Stanford Health Care.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics sates that 32% of work-relate musculoskeletal problems are from muscle strains and carpal tunnel. While there may be no way to avoid long hours at a desk, there are ways to help combat the fatigue and pain that come with it.
These eight stretches are perfect for those who sit all day:
Neck stretches are great for improving mobility and flexibility in the neck muscles. Most neck pain is the result of muscle spasms and strains that can easily be delt with, with proper stretching techniques.
Back extensions are perfect for strengthening the erector spinae muscles. This stretch is a great way to help strengthen the lower back and is often used in rehabilitation programs for those with poor lumbar posture.
Tight hips can lead to pain in the lower back, legs and feet. Hip mobility isn’t just for athletes; healthy hips are important for everyone, and poor hip mobility can lead to herniated discs and torn cartilage within the hip joint.
Healthy hamstrings lead to greater flexibility and better posture, and can help prevent lower back pain and improve blood circulation. There are a variety of hamstring stretches, including stretches that can be dome while seated.
Wrist stretches are low-impact and can help prevent many injuries while also doing wonders for those with carpal tunnel. Wrist stretches increase blood flow and range of motion. Loosening up your wrist before working can help with hand, shoulder and joint pain.
If you have osteoporosis or arthritis, finger stretches can help relieve pain and improve mobility. The most common cause of stiff fingers is arthritis, but it can also be cause by typing, ‘trigger finger’ and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Sitting all day in one position can increase tension in the spine. That can have damaging effects on the back, arms, wrists, legs and more. These back twists restores the spine’s natural range of motion.
The chest opener — often accompanied by a nice, long yawn — is a go-to stretch for office workers. This stretch loosens the muscles, improves circulation and helps prevent neck and back pain.
When stretching, be sure stick to your body’s current range of motion. Overstretching can lead to injury. To avoid pulling a muscle, do a light warm up before going into a deep stretching session.
“In a perfect world, get up from your desk every 20 to 30 minutes,” Aguilar says. “Your body has to move.”
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