4 Easy Exercises to Maintain Back Health

4 Easy Exercises to Maintain Back Health

Whether you are working from home or in the office, the stats on work-related back pain are simple and compelling.

A large scale Europe wide study revealed the following facts;

  • One in five adult Europeans will suffer from chronic pain based on a study of almost 50,000 people. This pain will be severe in 1/3 of cases.
  • The mean duration of back pain across Europe is 7 years with 4.9 years in Ireland.
  • Women are more likely to suffer back pain than men in Ireland, 60% vs 40% as compared to 52% vs 48% across Europe as a whole.
  • 31% of back pain sufferers report severe pain.
  • 42% said they would spend all their money on pain medication if they knew it would work.
  • 28% of people who suffer from chronic pain do not believe that their doctor knows how to control their pain.
  • The mean of annual lost time off work annually is 7.8 days.

The list goes on and the problem seems to be only getting worse, but the real question is, what can you do about it?

Everyone knows by now that you need to stand up now and again to break up long periods of working at your desk, but sometimes you are so busy that even leaving your desk for a few minutes seems like an impossibility. But what if you didn't even have to leave your desk?

Use Your Work Chair To Keep Your Back Healthy

Your chair can be your worst enemy or your best friend. Chair Yoga can be done in 1-minute increments at 20 minutes, half-hour, or 1-hour intervals throughout the day and there is very encouraging evidence that Yoga stretches can be effective in the treatment and prevention of non-specific low back pain.

A simple routine of as little as 4 simple exercises while at your desk can set you on the road to good back health even if you are too busy to leave your desk.

4 Simple Yoga Stretches You Can Do (Mostly) At Your Desk

1. Seated Cat-cow

  • Sit up straight with your hands resting on your knees.
  • Sit up straight with your hands resting on your knees.
  • Inhale and look upwards, arching your back and push your chest forwards.
  • Exhale and drop your chin to your chest as you round your back into the chair behind you.

Do this three times.

2. Seated Rotation

  • Cross your right hand over to your left knee.
  • Take a deep breath as you sit up tall in your chair.
  • Exhale as you turn fully to your left side using your hand holding onto the knee for leverage as you rotate.

Do this three times on either side.

3. Hamstring Stretch

  • Sit tall in your chair and take a deep breath in.
  • Exhale as you straighten one leg underneath your desk.
  • Inhale as you rest your foot back to the floor again.

Repeat three times for each leg and hold your leg straight for an extra breath cycle on the last one.

4. Iliopsoas Stretch

Ok. So, a little cheat here, for this one you need to leave your desk, but it is so effective that it's worth doing if you have the time and space.

  • Leave your chair to kneel on the floor with your right knee.
  • Cross your hand over to hold your left knee with it in front of you.
  • Take a deep breath into lengthening upwards through the top of your head.
  • Exhale and turn as fully as you comfortably can to your left using your right hand on your left knee for leverage.

Hold the rotation for at least one breath cycle. Then repeat on the other side.

And that's it. You're done. Do this every half hour if you have the time or every hour if you don't.

Bonus Tips

Set A Reminder

These four simple stretches can work miracles for posture-related non-specific low back pain, but to make this work you need consistency. Therefore, we recommend making a timetable and sticking to it. You can do this with reminders on your phone or with a simple spreadsheet where you mark off your stretches at every half hour or on the hour if 30-minute intervals seem too much at first or overkill if your back is already in good condition.

Ergonomics

You need them! Maybe your office had all that stuff but now you are slumped at home over a kitchen table, ill-sized desk, or worse... the sofa!

Get an ergonomic mouse (they do make a difference) a wireless ergonomic keyboard so you can easily vary the position of your hands and of course, make sure your chair and desk are the right height relative to you and each other.

Chair massage

There is a growing body of evidence that massage therapy is an effective treatment for non-specific low back pain. We here at Mysa understand only too well the risk of spending a lot of time in front of a computer. We still do it ourselves! But with a little discipline, it's easy to get into the habit of breaking up your workday and to regularly schedule time for yourself or your staff with an in-home or worksite chair massage.

If you would like to try a professional in-office or in-home massage therapy experience, then get in touch and let's discuss your needs.

 

REFERENCES

Harald Breivik, Beverly Collett, Vittorio Ventafridda, Rob Cohen, Derek Gallacher Survey of chronic pain in Europe: Prevalence, impact on daily life, and treatment European Journal of Pain 10 (2006) 287–333

https://www.pae-eu.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Survey-of-chronic-pain-in-Europe.pdf

Kumar Sarvana, Beaton Kate, Hughes Tricia The effectiveness of massage therapy for the treatment of nonspecific low back pain: a systematic review of systematic reviews PMID: 2404 3951 PMCID: PMC3772691 DOI: 10.2147/IJGM.S50243

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24043951/

Raftery Miriam N, Ryan Padhraig, Normand Charles, Murphy Andrew W, de la Harpe Davida, McGuire Brian E: The Economic Cost of Chronic Noncancer Pain in Ireland: Results From the PRIME Study, Part 2

https://www.jpain.org/article/S1526-5900(11)00816-9/abstract

Journal of Pain USASP Vol 13 Issue 2: Yoga for Pain: What the Science Says NCCIH Clinical Digest

https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/providers/digest/yoga-for-pain-science'

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