Why do so many office employees experience back pain? The answer ends up being pretty logical. They have consistently static postures, spending most of the day hunched over, seated, and leaning to one side. Compound this with all of the other factors in life that frequently plague office employees, such as a lack of exercise and high stress, and regular back pain makes perfect sense.
The good news is that as long as it is addressed proactively and relatively early on, the cure is simple and easy to apply. First and foremost, getting up and moving more frequently throughout the day will make a big difference. To supplement that, below are a mix of exercises commonly used by physical therapists and personal trainers to cure back pain in a large variety of individuals. They are meant to both relieve tension through mobility as well as strengthen the core to avoid future back pain. Share these positions with employees to help them manage and relieve their back pain!
The focus of the cat-camel is to get the spine to move out of the positions it is typically locked into. Start on hands and knees with palms flat. Then round the back as much as possible while spreading out the shoulder blades and pulling them backwards. Next, sink the stomach down towards the ground while forming a “u” with the back, pulling the shoulder blades down and back away from the neck. Alternate between the two, taking deep breaths in and out in each position.
With this movement, the goal becomes strength and posture improvement. Starting on hands and knees, reach straight forward with one arm, and straight back with the opposite-side leg. Try to keep tension in both limbs and hold for about two seconds, then alternate sides. Keep the stomach pulled in and the core tight, without leaning to one side or the other during the pose.
The goal is to move the spine into a more relaxed position and opening the upper back. Starting on hands and knees, sit back onto your calves/heels while having the upper body fold forward. Reach out with the arms while letting them rest on the ground, and try to press down while feeling a stretch in the lats. Allow the head to rest as well, again taking deep breaths in and out throughout the movement.
The obliques play a large role in taking pressure off of your lower back and allowing for proper posture. Exercises that are plank variations help massively in strengthening these muscles, and the side plank is definitely one of the best. Turn the body to one side and prop up on the forearm. To make this less difficult, you can spread the feet apart. Stacking feet together, or even lifting one in the air will make this pose more difficult. The key here is not letting your hips sink towards the ground and maintaining a rigid posture.
This movement works on full-body mobility as well as stretching the back. Start in a pushup position, and push away from the hands while letting the hips rise into the air and the head hang towards the ground. The lats and chest will be stretched during the movement. Take deep breaths in and out at the stretched position, hold it for a couple of seconds, and then return to the starting position.
The cobra pose is designed to get the back out of the locked, rounded position that it is frequently in while sitting at desks. Start lying face down on the ground with the hands by the side of the chest. Push the chest up and pull the shoulder blades back and down away from the ears while keeping the hips resting on the ground. Breathe out deeply while doing this, and hold the position for a few seconds before repeating the movement from the beginning.