Desk-based stretches for lower back pain: part 2
If you enjoyed part one of our series of desk-based exercises, here are four more great moves recommended by physiotherapist Judith Gould.
1. The pelvic rock
This move will help lubricate your joints and mobilize the lower part of your spine.
- 1. Sit forward, with both feet flat on the floor.
- 2. Rock forward and backward on your sitting bones. Your lower back will be arched slightly as your pelvis moves forward and rounded slightly as your pelvis moves backward.
- 3. Repeat 10 times.
2. Do the twist
This is another great move for your lower spine.
- 1. Turn to your left and place your right hand on the outside of your left knee.
- 2. Hold the back of your chair with your left hand. Elongate your spine, and twist slightly toward the left.
- 3. Breathe in and then out as you twist slightly further around.
- 4. Slowly come back to the start position and repeat on both sides three times.
3. Activate your abs
Your abdominal muscles are important for stabilizing your spine, but they can become weak if you slouch unconsciously and fail to engage them throughout the day. If you can spot creases in your stomach, it’s a sign that you’ve been slouching too much. Try this instead to strengthen your abs:
- 1. Sit up tall. Without moving your spine, gently pull your belly button in toward your spine.
- 2. Hold for 6 seconds and slowly release.
- 3. Repeat six times.
If you put your hands around your waist as you do this move, you should feel your waist shrink as you pull your tummy in and then pop out as you relax.
4. Get to those glutes
Sitting for too long stretches your hip muscles at the back (your glutes), which can weaken them over time. They may switch off, even when you need them to walk or exercise. Your lower back muscles will then have to work overtime to help you move, which can cause muscle strain and fatigue.
Try this exercise, which can be done discretely whenever you find yourself sitting down:
- 1. Sit up tall. Feel the two ‘sit bones’ you’re sitting on (sit on your hands if it helps).
- 2. Slowly tense your glutes, pulling your sit bones toward each other. You may feel yourself move slightly upward in your seat. Try not to tense other leg muscles, and focus the action on your glutes.
- 3. Hold each contraction for 6 seconds and repeat six times.
Meet Judith Gould, physiotherapist
Judith Gould works as a physiotherapist in Hong Kong at her clinic, Posture Plus. She uses Pilates equipment to help her clients cope with pain from spinal problems or surgery. She’s particularly interested in how better ergonomics at work and at home can help people prevent and alleviate pain. Judith graduated from the University of Queensland in Australia with an honors degree in physiotherapy and has been working as a physiotherapist in Australia, Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong for the past 27 years. RM-0960-V1-0515