When you’re sitting at your desk for long hours, you’ll eventually develop aches in your lower back. The pain you’re feeling was not done overnight, most likely because you’ve been doing the same routine for years, and has finally caught up to you. Fortunately, we have some desk exercises for lower back pain that you’ll be able to do at work or home to relieve some of the pain or stress you may be having.
These exercises presented in this article is not going to be your quick solution to reducing your lower back pain, but will need a continuous effort.
Causes for your lower back pain
There are many reasons why you’re having back pain. Perhaps your lower back pain is not even caused by long term sedentary position, but if you work at a desk sitting six to 13 hours a day, it can be caused by some of these reasons where you can look out for:
You don’t have the proper lumbar support
Don’t opt for a cheap desk chair. Chairs that are very affordable will have minimum to zero lumbar support for your long hours of sitting. Invest in a well-designed chair that has the proper lumbar support and your lower back will thank you. Take a look at the image below, explaining what lumbar support does for your back. If you’re looking for a new chair, find one with good lumbar support.
Your chair to desk height proportions are off
Make sure your desk and chair set up is ergonomic. Adjust the chair at the correct height where your forearms to your keyboard is at a straight, 90-degree angle. At this point, your thighs should be relaxed and leveled in a similar fashion. If you’re having trouble with getting to this position, perhaps you should consider getting a new chair or a desk that can be adjusted.
Your computer monitor or workstation is too far below or above eye level
In addition to adjusting the desk and/or chair to the correct proportions, it’s important to understand where your computer monitor is relative to your eye level. Ignoring this can create aches and pain in other areas such as your neck and shoulders. When you’re working for hours, you may not notice it, but you’ll also start to slouch, which will add to your lower back pain. When you have the monitor set at the correct eye level, you’re forced to have a proper back and spine alignment.
You spend most of your day in one, sedentary position
This is just the nature of the beast. If your work requires you to sit long hours, you’ll probably ask how do I alleviate my back pain then? Well, a few exercises, which we’ll discuss later, can help. Or if getting an exercise ball as your chair can help you naturally adjust the way you sit, keeping your core engaged and your body mobile.
2 Simple Desk Exercises for Lower Back Pain and Relieving Stress
These desk exercises are meant to help with relieving stress and reduce your lower back (perhaps shoulders and neck too) pain. Each of the exercises are for beginners and does not need to be followed to a tee, but can be modified depending on your comfort.
Chair Seated Forward Bend
This exercise helps release the tension in the spine, and stretches your lower back and hamstring muscles. You should be able to do this on your chair, or if you want to get really deep into the stretch, find a comfortable seated position on the floor.
The steps to perform this exercise:
- Spread your legs wide apart (or you can keep them together) in a 90 degrees bend, and have your feet pressed firmly to the ground.
- Take a few deep breaths and relax your shoulders down and back (pinching your shoulder blades together) to open your chest and life your posture.
- With a gentle exhalation, fold forward from your waist, bringing your torso between your legs (or to your thighs if you’re keeping your legs together).
- Bring your hands to your thighs or knees for balance. If you want to go deeper, you can bring your hands down to your shines or to the floor.
- Keep your neck soft and relaxed, letting it drop comfortably.
- For an advanced exercise: you can move your hands to one leg to get into a deeper stretch on one side of your lower back, repeating this on the other side.
- Remain in this posture, taking five to 10 deep breaths. Focus on your breath and repeat this two to three times a day.
You can also do this desk exercise with your legs straight out, instead of bent. This will give your lower back a deeper stretch.
Chair Seated Hip Stretch
Prolonged sitting will result in tight hip flexors, which is a result to muscle imbalances that leads to your low back pain. In science terms, tight hip flexors create an anterior pull on the pelvis known as an anterior pelvis tilt.
This seated hip stretch is a great way to target your hips, releasing the trigger points that causes your hips to be tight.
Steps to help loosen your hips:
- Fold your left leg across your right knee.
- While keeping your neck and shoulders relaxed, keep your spine straight and tall.
- Inhale; on exhale, fold forward from your waist, leading with your chest and dropping your torso towards your thighs and cross legs.
- Relax your arms and let it hang to the floor.
- Keep your left foot flexed, and breathe deep into the stretch.
- Hold for five to 10 deep breaths.
- Repeat with your right leg crossed over your left knee.
- Do this two to three times a day.
Back Pain Exercise Videos
This is a great video from Athlean-X that’ll help strengthen and reduce pain in your lower back. Athlean-X was created by physical therapist and strength coach Jeff Cavaliere that helped professional athletes and celebrities.
Going forward with these desk exercises
Making the time to do a couple of these desk exercises for lower back pain a day will help you in the long run. It may probably take awhile for you to get used to it, but within time, it’ll become a habit.
Once this becomes a daily routine, you’ll start learning about more advanced desk exercises that can help dramatically help with your aches and pains.
If you want to go more advanced, you could probably look into a stand-up desk converter that can ultimately alleviate all your back pain and help with other health issues that you may be concerned about.
Another option would be looking into inversion tables. These can also help reduce lower back pain by inverting you upside down so your back is being stretched by gravity.