Many of us lead a sedentary lifestyle, spending our days sitting in a cubicle for hours on end, staring at a computer screen. While this may seem like a comfortable way to work, it takes a toll on our health in the long run. Our backs, in particular, bear the brunt of this lifestyle, causing us pain and discomfort. If you’re one of the many people who suffer from back pain due to a lack of movement, don’t despair. There are simple exercises you can do to help alleviate your discomfort and get back to feeling like yourself again.
Chronic back pain
Chronic back pain can be caused due to several reasons but here we’ll be only discussing a sedentary lifestyle and the effect it has. Many studies have shown that a sedentary lifestyle increases the incidence of back pain. A sedentary lifestyle is a lifestyle that requires you to sit for long hours. When you sit for such long hours, it does have a detrimental effect on your back. This causes the sedentary lifestyle pain.
How to get relief from chronic back pain?
Some things that can help you get relief from back pain are; getting an ergonomic chair, maintaining a better posture, moving around more, and doing some exercises. You can consult an occupational therapist to get relief from the pain. For people who want to learn how to better cope with pain and improve their quality of life despite chronic pain, an occupational therapist can be very helpful. An OT typically focuses on what is important to the person while providing training on the concepts and techniques that can be utilized for better pain management. Read more about it here. Exercise is also a great way to get relief from pain. What’s even better is the fact that several exercises can be performed without any supervision and require nothing except a mat. Here are five such exercises which will be beneficial in getting relief from sedentary back pain.
5 Super-simple Exercises for Back Pain due to sitting long hours
Cat-cow stretch is an easy exercise to get relief from sedentary back pain. Many weightlifters also perform this before lifting weights. To perform this exercise lie on all fours with your hands and knees pressing against the floor. While maintaining this pose breathe in, arch your back downwards, and look up. Next, while exhaling and moving your face towards the chest, arch your spine towards the ceiling. Repeat this movement for 2-3 minutes. This will help you strengthen your core, engage your core muscles and relax your stiff back muscles.
Plank is a great exercise for strengthening your core muscles and it also helps in getting relief from sedentary lifestyle back pain. To perform the plank starts with the push-up position. Maintain the position with your forearm after bending the elbows. Ensure that your hips, torso, and legs all are in a straight line. You have to hold this position for as long as you can. Initially, you’ll be only able to hold the position for somewhere around 30 seconds. But as you practice more and more you can take it up to 90 seconds. Do remember to never over compensate with your back while doing a plank. Pull your back up whenever you find your belly sagging.
The bridge exercise is simple yet effective against back pain. To perform this lie flat on your back with your knees at right angles to the floor and the palms facing downwards touching the floor. Do not flatten your back and maintain the natural curvature of your back. Lift your hip and pelvis upwards such that your body is in a straight line. Hold the pose as long as you can. Ensure your feet and hands maintain their position. Repeat 4-5 times daily. This is a low-impact exercise so if you’re comfortable you can even do it up to 10 times.
The sphinx stretch is an easy exercise to stretch your back and also a great way to engage your back, glutes, hips, chest, and spine. Lie on your stomach to perform the sphinx stretch. Stretch your hands and legs so the palm faces down and there’s some gap between the feet. Inhale slowly while raising your head and looking forward. Slowly involve your back, hip, and glutes as you move backward. Press your pelvis into the floor for further support. Hold the position for as long as you can while looking straight ahead. Repeat this 5 to 10 times daily. Sphinx stretch is also helpful if you have knee pain from a sedentary lifestyle.
The child pose is a traditional yoga pose. It is an excellent way to stretch your back, shoulder, and spine. Start on all fours, and stretch your feet backward. Place your palms on the floor. Without moving your hands and knees move your body backward as you inhale. Let your belly lay on your thighs. Try to maintain this position for as much time as you’re able to. Perform the process 5 to 10 times daily. Breathe slowly and let your body relax. It is not a very uncomfortable position so you can hold it as long as you like. Move back to the original position when you are done and repeat the process as many times as you like.
Sitting for long hours is a leading cause of chronic back pain, but there are several ways you can prevent that from happening. To ensure you don’t become a victim of this problem, you should maintain a proper posture while sitting and invest in an ergonomic chair that supports your back. You should also engage your core more often by forming good habits like exercising frequently (try the above-mentioned exercises). If the pain persists, don’t hesitate to ask for help from experts like Heather Mogielnicki, a Certified Hand Therapist with over 23 years of experience dealing with patients and treating them for upper extremity injuries. Contact us, and we can help you get relief from chronic back pain.