“I don’t have time to stretch.” “I don’t know what to stretch.” “I work too much to go to the gym.”
I hear these excuses from my patients’ day in and day out! You may have your own excuse that I did not list, but in the end, you probably aren’t stretching and staying mobile while you are at work. Even if you have a job that is fairly active, I am willing to bet that you aren’t taking the tiny moments of time required to make sure your posture is still in check.
In this blog, I will be going over the 3 main stretches and movements that we have our busy patients do during their workdays and on vacation. Each of these will require very little, if any, time for you to do, and I guarantee you will reduce back pain and improve your body awareness. All of these stretches can be done *WHILE YOU WORK* in increments as short as 5 seconds up to 5 minutes.
Seated or Standing Pelvic Tilts
This is an essential movement to learn to reduce your back pain! Do reps of 10-20 while standing or sitting and pay attention to how far you can arch and round your back. This tilting motion may be tight or painful at first and that is fine! Find your neutral position and hold it there all day. You might be thinking about how provocative and ridiculous this looks, but you can practice these variations anywhere at any time to help relieve your pain… it’s a nice trade off.
Kneeling and Standing Hip Flexor Stretches
No matter the reason for your back pain, your hip flexors need to be stretched. This stretch can easily be done while in an elevator, at your desk, or on an airplane. Do you sit all day? Push your chair aside and drop to a knee and stretch while you continue typing… you might end up stretching 10 minutes per side if you are focused on work! You will feel a stretch in the front of your hip while performing either of these variations.
Sure your lower back may hurt, but there is a pretty good chance that your upper back and neck are curved forward as well. This upper body curvature will cause your low back to arch (stick the butt out) more as a compensation for your poor posture. Set an alarm and pull your shoulders down and back every 30 minutes to reset your posture. As you get more proficient with the movement, cut this time down to 20, 15, 10, 5 minutes until you maintain your shoulders down and back all day. Along with Scapular Retraction, practicing your pelvic tilts will allow you to learn where your “neutral” postural position is when you are sitting or standing.
All of these stretches will only offer temporary relief and bodily awareness. To eliminate your pain for good, you must get yourself into a strengthening and training program. We will be launching our online program that will allow you to relieve your back pain in the comfort of your own home. If you haven’t signed up yet, be sure to do so!