Easy Exercises for Upper and Lower Back Pain
Exercise is vitally important to your health and wellbeing. Besides improving your flexibility, blood flow, and strengthening your muscles; daily stretching and exercises can improve your mood and reduce stiffness.
As always, we recommend consulting a specialist before making any major changes to your life. The team at Relief Chiropractic specialise in all aspects of back and pain treatment from chiropractic treatment to sports massage, and laser therapy. This range of expertise and insight allows us to not just treat pain, but get to the core issues affecting your everyday life. We aim to improve movement, reduce pain, and improve your overall well being through a unique plan of treatment and advice.
To help you along the path to good posture and healthy work habits we’re going to look at some simple exercises you can do at your desk or during short breaks to release tension or tightness.
Breathing is an important part of your daily de-stress routine. Even if you can make 5 minutes every hour or so to breathe and stretch you can help your posture and mood. Practising breathing is the easiest place to start, once you’ve got the habit of breathing exercises down you can incorporate sitting and standing exercises to give you a relaxing and rejuvenating work recovery programme.
To lend you a helping hand, we recommend following the NHS guidelines. They have instructions that work for lying down, standing or sitting. All you need to do is follow these steps below:
- Let your breath flow as deep down into your belly as is comfortable, without forcing it.
- Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Breathe in gently and regularly. Some people find it helpful to count steadily from 1 to 5. You may not be able to reach 5 at first.
- Then, without pausing or holding your breath, let it flow out gently, counting from 1 to 5 again, if you find this helpful.
- Keep doing this for 3 to 5 minutes.
This exercise helps reduce stress, anxiety, and panic and is a valuable tool in daily life.
While sitting at your desk, at home or at work, you can do several stretch exercises that don’t even require you to get out of your chair. These exercises are ideal for open offices where you don’t want to distract anyone or look out of place stretching in the middle of the office.
It may feel a little awkward to start these exercises in a busy office, but the benefits they provide far outweigh the cons and who knows! You may even get a few team members to join in with you.
While sitting, pump both arms over your head for 30 seconds. Follow this up by rapidly tapping your feet for 30 seconds. Repeat this combination 3-5 times and you’ll find you have better circulation and more alertness.
Shoulder Blade Squeezes
Your upper back, especially between the shoulder blades can be a point of pain for many people. To release the tension in your chest and shoulder blades, try sitting up straight in your chair and squeezing your shoulder blades together while pushing out your chest.
Hold the squeeze to open your chest and stretch out the muscles. Repeat this exercise several times for a few minutes and you’ll find your chest and back feel more relaxed and at ease.
This stretch is probably the most obvious on this list and one you’ve done without even thinking about it. While sitting, raise your arms above your head in the shape of a V. Stretch your arms as high as you can and hold them for 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise several times to relieve stress and stretch out your back, shoulders, and arms.
It’s not just vertically but rotationally that you can stretch your back. A torso twist is a good way to get a break from the screen and give your body some much-needed exercise. To do this, place your feet firmly on the floor. Place your arm on the back of the chair and twist your upper body towards the arm holding the chair.
For example, if your right hand is holding the back of the chair, twist your body right and place your left hand on the outside of your right leg. Hold this position for 3-5 deep breaths and repeat on the left side. Do this several times and you’ll find yourself feeling more relaxed and comfortable.
If you want to incorporate standing exercises into your routine then we have some great ideas for you to try. Standing exercises engage more muscle groups than sitting and can be incredibly helpful in releasing tension and stress. Whether at work or home, here are some easy exercises to try yourself.
Calf raises are an easy stretch that gets you on your feet and improves the circulation and flexibility in your legs. To do calf raises, stand behind your chair and hold on to it for support. Raise your heels off the floor and stand on your toes. Hold for a few seconds and slowly lower your heels back to the floor. Repeat this process several times for a few minutes.
Standing Rear Pulses
Your desk is a great support aid for stretching. For this exercise, you will need to wheel your chair away and place your hands on your desk. Keep one foot firmly planted on the ground and raise your other foot behind you by bending your knee. Your leg should be in a ‘reverse L shape’.
Now raise your heel a few inches, hold, and then return your leg to the original reverse L position. Repeat this process 20-30 times and then switch sides and repeat. If you’re doing these exercises at home you can add ankle weights to add resistance for a tougher workout.
A wall sit is a squat with the aid of a wall. Find a passage wall or blank wall in your office and place your back against it. Slide your back down until your hips are at the same level as your knees. Your legs should be bent at a 90-degree angle.
The benefit of this exercise is that it is great for your core and back. The straight-wall helps you stretch your back while the sitting position allows you to exercise your core. Maintain this position for 30-60 seconds and aim to do as many reps as you feel comfortable doing. Remember to start slow and ramp up as you go.
Last, but not least, is an exercise that you can do without it being obvious. Taking short breaks to stand and go for walks does wonders for your health and is something we recommend. A squeeze walk simply means tightening your core and holding your abdominal muscles tight as you walk.
To practice this, take a deep breath and squeeze your core. Try to hold these muscles for 5-10 seconds and release. Repeat this process 5-10 times, several times a day. You can do it when you go to make a cup of tea, walk to the loo, or even while answering emails at your desk.
All of these exercises are easy to do and designed to be fast. Practice little and often and you’ll find a routine that helps you de-stress, clear your mind, and improve your posture a little bit every day.
If you’d like to talk to an expert to get to the root cause of your pain then contact us today. We specialise in treating patients with gentle and effective techniques to restore normal function, reduce back pain and improve everyday life. Contact us today or book an appointment at our clinic in Cambridge to find out more.