One of the many side effects of desk and computer-oriented life is the proliferation of neck, back and shoulder pain. Tiling your head at weird angles, repetitive typing, and any number of other unnatural positions and motions lead to discomfort and pain in joints and muscles. You can alleviate a number of them with a standing desk that lets you stand while working, especially if your lower back is a concern. But that takes time. These stretches offer more immediate relief if you’re in pain now and want to work out those knots and muscles strains as your standing desk solution begins to work in your favor.
1. Stretch your back and shoulders against a wall
“Forward head” is one of the names for slouching in the shoulders and neck. With the shoulders rolled forward and the neck leaning forward, the upper back and neck have to strain to hold the head up. This happens to a lot of people who sit at computers and hunch over the monitor, but you can retrain your body to not do this.
Stand with your back against a wall and arms resting at your sides. Your heels can be against the wall or a few inches off of it. Gently press your back, shoulders and neck towards the wall. Don’t strain or do anything that hurts, but you should feel a gentle stretch across your chest and the front of your shoulders. You can emphasize the shoulder stretch by raising your hands up above your shoulders, as if in a “don’t shoot, I’m innocent” pose. Your elbows and the back of your hands should touch the wall, as your back should continue to do. If you can press your hands against the wall with your elbows above your shoulders try and draw your elbows down towards your sides to intensify the stretch.
2. Stretch the back of your shoulders and your upper back while seated
In a upright position with your shoulders and spine in a neutral position, bring your arms above your head and cross your wrists. Rotate your hands inward so each hand can grasp the palm of the other, and press your arms against your ears. Roll your upper back forward and bring your arms and head down so your arms are parallel with the ground. You should feel a gentle stretch across your upper back, shoulders, and neck. You can intensify the stretch by driving your hands further forward using your shoulders.
This can relieve some of the tightness from typing on a keyboard all day.
3. Stretch your arm across your chest
While seated or standing, bring your left arm across the front of your chest. Put the inside of your right elbow on your left elbow and pull your left arm in towards your body while pushing your left shoulder across the torso. Don’t rotate your body, but do gently look to the left. You should feel a stretch in your left shoulder and chest, as well as the right side of your neck. Repeat on the right side.
These three simple stretches are something you can do regularly at work for an immediate impact on shoulder, neck and back pain and posture. So even while you’re waiting to get your new adjustable height standing desk set up you can start addressing some of your physical discomfort.
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