How to Exercise at Your Desk to Avoid Back Pain

How To Exercise Desk To Avoid Back Pain

Today, most of our lives are spent sitting down in chairs, in cars, and on couches. Many office jobs require employees to sit at a desk while they work, and students are required to sit at desks during classes – both instances involve multiple hours of sitting every day. After school or work, many people prefer to sit while enjoying relaxing activities such as eating dinner and watching television.

While sitting down has become a normal part of everyday life, four out of five adults will experience lower back pain from sitting and poor posture in their lifetime.

Sitting with your shoulders and neck hunched causes increased pressure on your back, neck, arms, and even your legs. This poor posture can overstretch your spinal ligaments and strain your spinal discs.

In this blog, the professionals at Decker Chiropractic in Olathe cover the common posture problems you may experience at your desk, and exercises tip to help minimize the back pain.

Common Posture Problems While Sitting

Being aware of how you sit at a desk or on a couch can help you avoid back pain in the future!

There are a few adjustments you can make to your office space to minimize the amount of strain you put on your back and shoulders while you sit. With these small adjustments, your body weight is better supported by your chair and your computer screen is more easily accessible.

Your Desk and Elbows

While sitting in your office space, pull yourself as close as possible to your desk. Your upper arms should be parallel to your spine, or straight at your sides. Rest your hands on your desk surface or keyboard.

Are your elbows at a 90-degree angle? If not, you should move your chair up or down until your elbows are bent at a perfect right angle while you work.

This reduces the strain on your shoulders and minimizes the need to slump or hunch your shoulders while working.

Your Chair and Legs

Even though you are sitting, you should take care to adjust your legs and feet properly at your desk.

While you are sitting, you should be able to easily slide your fingers under your thigh at the leading edge of your chair. If you can’t, this means that your feet should be propped up on a footrest so that your legs are closer to a 90-degree angle.

If there is more than a finger’s width between your thigh and the edge of your chair, that means that you are sitting too low, and your knees are coming up above your waist. Adjust the height of your desk so that you may raise the height of your chair. Again, your legs should be close to a 90-degree angle.

Next, sit with your back pressed against the back of your chair. If you cannot pass your clenched fist between the back of your calf and the front of your chair, then the chair is too deep. You should add a lumbar support cushion to the back of your chair or move the backrest forward.

Your Screen and Neck

One of the best things you can do to improve your posture is to ensure that your computer screen—or whatever device you may be using—is at the most comfortable eye-level for you.

Sit comfortably in your workspace with the desk and chair adjustments you have made. Close your eyes, while still facing forward. When you open your eyes, you should be looking at the center of your monitor screen.

If your screen is too low, such as a laptop on a desk, your neck is then forced to crane and hunch over while you work. Your chin should be parallel to your desk while working.

Easy Exercises to Do at Your Desk

It’s important to remember that even if you are practicing good posture, sitting for long periods of time is not good for your back. Prolonged, static posture—even if it’s good posture—can still lead to back pains and aches.

That’s why you should try to stand, stretch, or walk for at least a minute or two every half hour. Here are three exercises you can do throughout your day to keep your muscles loose:

Seated Side Stretch

Seated Side Stretch

While seated at your desk, raise one arm over your head while placing your other hand on your lap.

Slowly bend to the side opposite of your raised hand while facing forward. You should feel a comfortable stretch in your side and back.

Hold this stretch for 15-20 seconds and repeat 3-5 times on each side.

Seated Knee to Chest Stretch

Seated Knee Chest Stretch

While sitting in your chair, raise one knee towards your chest as if you are marching.

Use both hands to hold your knee as close as you can to your chest while keeping your back straight. You should feel a gentle stretch in your lower back and hip.

Hold this stretch for 15-20 seconds and repeat 3-5 times on each side.

Seated Figure 4 Stretch

Figure 4 Stretch

While sitting in your chair, cross one leg on top of the other so that your ankle is placed on your opposite knee.

Place your hands on your crossed leg and slowly lean forward. Your hands should hold your leg in place while you feel a mild stretch in the hip and buttock area.

Hold this stretch for 15-20 seconds and repeat 3-5 times on each side.

Decker Chiropractic Is Here to Help

If you are experiencing back pain or muscle aches, look to Olathe’s trusted chiropractor for help. We offer a variety of chiropractic care and wellness services, each designed to support one another while bringing you back to a state of strength and balance! Send us a message and schedule a consultation today so that you can live happier and healthier tomorrow!