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Best Neck and Upper Back Stretches You Can Do at Work

Effects of Sitting

Neck and upper back stretches can help relieve tension and pain while at a desk for long hourse. It is normal while at a desk job to do repetitive activities while staying in one position for hours at a time. Sitting for long periods of time, at the office, at school, in the car, in front of a computer, or in front of a television screen, can all be bad for your health. Some health experts are persistently warning that sitting for prolonged periods of time have a negative effect on the body.

The habits we develop while sitting, especially at our work desk, can give way to discomfort and health issues, some of which are:

In addition to this, inactivity increases the stress on the spinal discs more than standing. Immobility results in the tightening of pelvic muscles. And when a person stands after sitting for a long time, the body is pulled forward and thrown off balance, causing stress to muscles and bones.

The solution to neck and upper back pain is to break up your work duration with stretching exercises at your desk.  This helps release tight muscles in the neck and upper back that cause pain over the course of the work day.


Benefits of Workplace Stretching

According to a 2009 WELCOA (Wellness Council of America) report titled, “Benefits of WorkSmart Stretching for the Workplace.” The benefits of workplace stretching include:

  •    Reduced risk of musculoskeletal disorders, like sprains and strains of the lower back, shoulders, and knees.
  •    Decreased risk of cumulative trauma disorders, such as rotator cuff injuries, tendonitis, tennis elbow and “Blackberry” thumb
  •    Reduced workplace stress.
  •    Improved productivity.

If done regularly, stretching keeps a good amount of blood and nutrient supply to the tissues and muscles.  It also inhibits stress and fatigue while cutting the risk of musculoskeletal disorders, and most of all, it increases energy levels. Daily stretching will also reduce the risk of developing osteoarthritis.

Also, one of the best benefits of stretching is that it increases the production of synovial fluid in the joints, making joints adaptable and easier to move, thus reducing pain and stiffness.

Try the following stretching exercises at your desk to ease back pain and boost energy.

Remember to never hold your breath throughout the stretches. You may find yourself more flexible each stretch but don’t go further than what is comfortable. All of these stretches can be done while sitting at your workplace.

Tricep Stretch

  1.    Raise your arm and bend at a 45-degree angle, so that your hand goes through the back of the head and reaches toward the opposite side.
  2.    Use your other hand to pull the elbow toward your head.
  3.    Bend your upper body to the direction of the pull.
  4.    Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
  5.    Repeat on the other side.

Overhead Stretch

  1.    Reach up with your one arm straight overhead.
  2.    Bend your body as you reach to the opposite side.
  3.    Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
  4.    Repeat on the other side.

Upper Body and Arm Stretch

  1.    Clasp your hands together above the head with your palms facing outward.
  2.    Push your arms up, slowly stretching upward.
  3.    Hold the pose for 10 to 30 seconds

Shoulder Stretch

  1.    Clasp your hands together behind your lower back.
  2.    Slowly push the chest outward, raise the chin and push your hands against the direction of the stretch.
  3.    Hold the pose for 10 to 30 seconds.

Forward Stretch

  1.    Extend your hands in front of you with your palms facing down.
  2.    Bend your upper back as you sink your head between your arms.
  3.    Try to extend your arms more as you stretch.
  4.    Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.

Torso Stretch

  1.    Keep your feet firmly on the ground, facing forward.
  2.    Twist your upper body as you rest the length of your forearm on the back of your chair.
  3.    Hold the pose for 10 to 30 seconds.
  4.    Repeat on another side.

Shoulder Shrug

  1.    Sit up straight.
  2.    Relax your shoulders and let your arms rest on your sides.
  3.    Raise both shoulders up at once toward the ears.
  4.    Drop them and repeat 10 times.

Neck Stretch

  1.    Sit up straight and let your arms rest on your sides.
  2.    Lean your head forward, as if looking down.
  3.    Slowly roll the head toward one side and hold for 10 seconds.
  4.    Repeat on another side.
  5.    Relax again and lift your chin back to starting position.
  6.    Do this three times for each direction.

Upper Trap Stretch

  1.    Sit up straight and let your arms rest on your sides.
  2.    Still on the side put your hand at the top of your head
  3.    Gently guide your head and pull toward each shoulder
  4.    Hold the pose for 10 to 15 seconds.
  5.    Repeat on the other side

Do these stretches on a daily basis, during and after work, and save your body from different injuries and disorders!

You can also visit Beyond Wellness Chiropractic Center for additional tips on avoiding back, muscle, and joint pains.  

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