If you run an office, you’re all too familiar with the back pain that comes from working at a desk all day. But did you know that 54% of Americans experience lower back pain by sitting too much at their desks?
Based on this figure, it’s likely that some (or many) of your employees are suffering from back pain. And it’s not all that surprising, either!
Sitting for 8-10 hours a day, 5 days a week, is bound to put significant strain on our backs. To make matters worse, a lot of people don’t know how to practice proper posture while sitting.
To combat pain and better your business, you can teach back stretches at work that will help your employees. Here are 10 stretches for desk workers that will prevent and relieve back pain!
On the busiest days, it can be hard to remember to stand up and away from the computer. Although standing seems simple, it’s crucial for preventing back pain.
Sitting for long periods of time can put a lot of pressure on our lower and upper backs. By standing, a person can reduce this pressure and relieve pain as a result. It not only feels good, but it improves blood flow.
Standing is not only good for our backs. Standing for up to 2 hours at work may actually have additional health benefits. One study suggests that replacing 2 hours of sitting with standing at work may lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Encourage and remind your employees to stand for a few minutes every hour. You can also promote this exercise by organizing activities that involve standing.
2. Seated Twists
Twisting our upper body can help to relieve tension along the spine.
While twisting, make sure to keep your back straight. It’s important not to twist improperly or too fast. Here’s how to properly do a seated twist:
- Sit upright in a chair with your head straight
- Twist to one side as far as you can comfortably go
- Turn your head in motion with the twist
While twisting, don’t put any pressure on your hand. You can, however, place your hand on your knee while twisting. Encourage your employees to practice deep breathing while performing seated twists.
3. Standing Hamstring
Sitting for long periods of time doesn’t just put strain on our backs. It can also cause tight hamstrings, which can worsen lower back pain.
By stretching out your hamstrings a few times per day, you can relieve and prevent lower back pain. Here’s how to perform a proper standing hamstring stretch:
- Remove your shoe and stand in front of your desk
- Raise your right leg and then lower your right heel at the edge of the desk, keeping your leg straight
- Hold for several seconds; repeat the stretch on the other leg
This standing hamstring stretch can feel too intense for those who aren’t used to it. Luckily, there are easier stretches for desk workers that involve the hamstrings.
Basic Hamstring Stretches
You can teach your employees to pull their torso in while bending their standing leg. They should keep their spines straight as they pull their abdomen in. They should never curve their spines while performing this stretch.
You and your employees should also practice basic toe touching hamstring stretches. These are especially helpful for relieving lower back pain.
You can encourage your employees to do hamstring exercises every day. Provide yoga mats at the office. That way, they can perform toe touches and hamstring stretches more comfortably.
4. Shoulder Shrugs
Often times, there is a strong correlation between upper back pain and neck pain.
Neck pain can impair people’s concentration. As a result, it can then disrupt their work patterns at the office. It can also disrupt their sleep patterns and lead to headaches, shoulder pain, and jaw pain.
You can learn more about the effects of neck pain by studying the benefits of chiropractic care.
Afterward, you may want to schedule a day where a chiropractor visits your office. They can then consult with employees who are experiencing severe neck and back pain.
How to Perform Shoulder Shrugs
You can also teach your employees how to perform neck and back stretches at work. Shoulder shrugs are a classic stretch. They not only relieve upper back and shoulder pain but neck pain, as well.
First, you should sit upright in a chair with their shoulders square. They can then begin to roll their shoulders up towards their ears. Then, they should roll their shoulders back down, dropping and relaxing them.
Additionally, people can perform this stretch in reverse. Encourage your employees to perform shoulder shrugs between 10 and 15 times.
5. Eagle Arms
Eagle arms are another stretch that relieves upper back and shoulder pain. By doing them in addition to shoulder shrugs, your employees can better combat back pain.
Here’s how to perform a proper eagle arm stretch:
- Sit upright in a chair
- Stretch your arms parallel to your shoulders and shoulder-width apart
- Bend your left arm upward
- Wrap your right arm under and around your left arm
- Turn your head side-to-side in a slow and careful motion
- Reverse and repeat this process holding each side for at least 8 breaths
You and your employees can attain the best stretch by trying to clasp your palms together. This may take time to achieve, but it’s possible with frequent practice.
6. Chest Opener
Tight chest and shoulder muscles can lead to upper back pain. That’s where the chest opener stretch comes into play.
Here’s how to perform a chest opener stretch:
- Sit upright in a chair and interlace your fingers behind you
- Place your arms on top of the chair behind you
- Drop your chin to your chest
- Repeat for at least 8 breaths
The chest opener stretch will not only relieve upper back pain but neck and shoulder pain, as well.
Improve Employee Productivity & Happiness with Back Stretches at Work
Sitting at a desk all day, week in and week out can lead to bigger problems than most employers are willing to admit to.
Constant strain on our backs can cause pain to radiate to other parts of our bodies. This can not only lead to health problems for employees. It can also cause a serious loss of productivity and revenue!
By teaching your employees back stretches at work, you can help them work and live pain-free. And by having happier and healthier employees, your business won’t suffer.
But improving employee happiness doesn’t end with stretches for desk workers! For more tips on how to improve employee productivity and your business, visit our management blog today.