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Office Exercises: You Can Keep Your Back In Shape Right At Your Desk!

Nov 4, 2007
Sitting in an office for eight hours today is considerably more stressful and sedentary than it was just ten years ago.

Today we do not need to rise to pull a file, speak to another employee or even go to the post office. Thanks to computers, fax, and office postage meters, movements can be almost entirely avoided. Unfortunately, after the age of twenty-five, the blood supplies to the spinal discs are shut off and degeneration sets in unless movement occurs.

These exercises included breathing to increase the oxygenation of your blood, aid digestive peristalsis and stretch your middle back and neck more thoroughly. Do not race through these movements and avoid the breathing, as this will minimize the beneficial effects.

All of these stretches must be tested carefully. They should produce a subtle stretch, which is alleviated as the stretch is held. If there is pain or the stretch does not minimize...stop immediately and see your chiropractic doctor. Of course, if dizziness, nausea or chest pain occurs, consult your medical doctor.

This entire series will take less than ten minutes. Repeat the stretch after every two to four hours of continuous work. This has been shown to increase efficiency 25% over employees who worked continuously without such breaks.

First remove your shoes and loosen restrictive clothing. Be sure that your area is free from hazards.

Outer Neck and Shoulder Stretch

Put your right arm behind your back while tilting (not turning) your head to the opposite side. You should feel a pull in your right neck and upper shoulder. If a pinching sensation occurs to your left side, do not perform this exercise. Hold the position for five deep breaths in and out, relaxing more deeply with each exhalation. Repeat to the opposite side.

Shoulder Rolls

Shoulder Rolls, with your arms dangling at your side, roll your shoulders forward, upward and backward in a circular motion for 30 seconds. Start slowly and progress to a fairly quick motion.

Neck and Upper Back Stretch

Hold your hands together behind your back as low as possible with your palms facing away from your body. Bring your chin all the way down to your chest and take five deep breaths in and out. Now turn and tilt your head to the right while pulling down with your left arm. Hold for five deep breaths. Now perform this to your left side.

Neck Circles

Neck Circles, put your arms down to your sides and let your chin drop to your chest. As you take in a deep breath, turn and tilt your head to the right. As you exhale drop your head back to your chest. Next, breathe in while turning and tilting to the left. While exhaling, bring your left head back to your chest. Start off slowly without pain and progress to a fairly rapid and continuous breathing and neck movement pattern. Do this for 30 seconds.

Neck Sling

Clasp your hands behind your neck, elbows out, with your little fingers pressing up against the base of your skull. Now arch your middle back against the back of a firm chair (it should not fall back). The back of your chair should not be higher than the bottoms of your shoulder blades and lower than the bottoms of your ribs. Now allow yourself to fall backwards letting your head BUT NOT YOUR NECK extend over the back of the chair. This should feel great; if not, do not go back as far. Just relax like this for 30 seconds.

The Lumbar Arch

The Lumbar Arch, lean against the back of your chair with the support being firm and fitting well within your low back. Arch against this as long as it feels comfortable. Place your hands behind the back support or under the seat to give added resistance (note: do not lock your neck backwards). Take five comfortable deep breaths while in this position.

The Teapot

Stand with your feet shoulder width distance apart. Put your hands on your waist. Turn your left foot out completely (90 degrees) and your right leg in 30 degrees. Now tilt to your left while your left hand is on your left thigh or knee. Hold your right arm straight out from your shoulder. Continue bending to the left side as long as it feels comfortable. Hold this position for eight breaths. Be sure to continuously hold your left leg with your hand wherever it is most supportive. Continue this on the other side. You should feel a stretch to you outer waist and hip on the side opposite the direction that you are bending.

Bend Overs

Bend Overs-Straddle your seat with your legs wide apart and locked under the chair. Push your bottom all the way to the back of the seat and bend completely forward and down. If pain or instability begins to occur, stop, and see your chiropractic doctor. This could be a sign of a weak disc, Hold this position, if it is comfortable, for five deep breaths. Next, twist and bend over one leg and then the other. Each position should be held for five deep respiratory cycles.

The Bird

Grand your right ankles with your right hand with your right knee bent. Hold on to your desk with your left hand (standing on the right side of your desk); now bend over at your hip (not your waist) keeping your back straight. You should feel a nice stretch in the back of your left thigh and the front of your right thigh. Hold this position for one minute and repeat on the opposite leg.
About the Author
Dr. Rick Morris is the founder of the The Morris Spinal Stenosis and Disc Center in Santa Monica, Ca. You can read more of his health articles or contact him at his website and find out about his non-surgical treatment of low back pain disorders
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