Prolonged sitting, stress, carrying heavy load, slouching, sudden movements, and so many other factors, be they physical or psychological, can either cause or aggravate your existing back pain which covers the tissues, muscles, bones, nerves, and joints. In 2014 to 2015, about 16% of the population or 3.7 million people had back problems. In fact, in 2011, back pain was considered the 3rd leading cause of disease burden among Aussies. To avoid disability and productivity loss, treat your back pain immediately.
While medicines certainly work, some people prefer to take the road less travelled – they embrace office yoga. The advantages of doing so include absence of side effects, prevention of drug dependence, zero costs, and time maximization. If you are one of the corporate babies who barely have time to attend a therapy session nor do you own a handy inversion table for back pain, here are a few effective office yoga techniques you can try:
Cat or Cow Chair Pose
Holding the same position for more than an hour can cause muscle stiffness. Try performing chair yoga poses like the cat or cow pose. With your feet flat on the floor, sit at the chair’s edge, hands on your knees. Lift your chest and stick your hips out behind as you inhale. Look up, open chest, and softly squeeze shoulder blades together. As you exhale, tuck in belly, round chest, and curl tail tailbone under. This completes the cycle and then you can repeat the process as you desire.
If your cubicle has a bigger leg room or you can find a space to perform a good roll-down, please do so. Hands at the sides and feet positioned hip-width apart, sit comfortably and begin rounding down from the head through the spine. As you exhale, release your forehead forward until the crown is placed by the thighs. Hold the pose for 3 counts and inhale as you round up to a sitting position. Remember to protect your back by drawing the navel to spine. A 15-minute break allows at least 5 reps of this pose, plus other chair poses.
Position yourself at the edge of the chair, preferably without wheels. Feet flat on the floor, bring your chest to your knees. Then, lean over and allow hands to hang loosely. Release your neck and gently, gradually wrap hands at the back of your leg. Using your right hand, grab your left wrist (or if you can, reach your left elbow) and vice versa. Hold the pose for 5 seconds and feel the stretch in your shoulders, neck, and back.
Torso twists provide effective release of your back. As you exhale, turn on your right side and grab your chair using your left hand. Also grab the chair’s arm with your right hand to provide a better support. Slowly, twist your torso to the back. Reach as far as you can to give your torso a good stretch. Once satisfied, you can slowly turn back to the front. Though simple and easy, this yoga pose will do wonders.
Whenever you can, stand up and walk around. Prolonged sitting compresses your disks and affects your hip flexors. So instead of emailing, go walk to your colleague’s cubicles. In the process, stop and give your back a nice, long stretch. Raise your hand as high as possible as you inhale, arch your back a little, and then slowly release as you move back to your original pose.
Don’t let time stop you from treating back problems. Perform easy yoga poses right in your very desk and feel the difference.