5 Stretches to Relieve Back Pain While Working at Home - Virtua Health, NJ

5 Stretches to Relieve Back Pain While Working at Home

By Virtua Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Staff

Millions of people are now working at home and, in some cases, have had to set up makeshift workspaces that may be less “ergonomic” than traditional offices.

The American Association of Physical Therapists offers great advice for setting up a workspace that maximizes your safety and comfort. In addition, Virtua’s physical therapists encourage you to take short breaks in the day to do these standing stretches for your back and lower body. They will help support your core and alleviate muscle tightness that can lead to back pain.

Backward bend

  • Place your hands on your hips.
  • Arch your upper body backwards to a point of tension but not pain.
  • Hold for five seconds.
  • Do three sets, repeating 10 times per set.

Chair squat

  • Place a chair in front of you and rest your hands on the back of it, leaving 12 to 18 inches between you and the chair.
  • With your feet shoulder-width apart, squat as low as comfortable, keeping your knees behind your toes.
  • Return to standing.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Quadriceps stretch

  • With your hand on a chair or table for support, stand on one leg.
  • Bend your other knee and grasp your foot behind you, keeping your thigh and knee close to your other leg.
  • Pull your foot toward your bottom until you feel a stretch in the front of your thigh (quadriceps) but not pain.
  • Hold for five seconds and release.
  • Repeat five times on each leg.

Hamstring stretch

  • Stand on one leg and place your other foot on a stool or ottoman, keeping your leg straight and your foot flexed so your toes point up.
  • With a straight back and lifted chest, lean forward until you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh (hamstring) but not pain.
  • Hold for five seconds and release.
  • Repeat 10 times on each leg.

Calf stretch

  • Stand in front of a wall and place your hands flat against it.
  • Bend one knee slightly and press your other leg back behind you, keeping it straight with your foot flat on the floor.
  • Lean into the wall until you feel a stretch in your calf but not pain.
  • Hold for five seconds and release.
  • Repeat 10 times on each leg.

Do these stretches once or twice a day, and keep up with it when you return to your office.

Updated March 26, 2020

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