Over the last couple of months I’ve been having major pain in my upper back, neck, and right shoulder area and at times I’ve even had numbness and tingling in my right arm. I thought for sure I had some kind of disc problem in my back and was pretty worried about it (which is why I put off going to the doctor – stupid of me).
When I finally went, the doctor ordered physical therapy, which I’ve never done before and honestly thought might be a waste of time. I was pretty sure what I needed was an MRI. But off I went to PT, and I am happy to report that I was totally wrong. This has been a game changer for me as a person that sits at a desk all day long.
After only a few sessions my pain is MUCH better (not totally gone, but the arm numbness is a thing of the past) and my “homework” each week has been to perform several stretches to keep my back and neck loose. I’m still staring at a computer all day (work is work) but now I have some go-to methods to keep myself from getting all knotted up.
My husband sits at a desk all day, and so do many of my friends. I feel like the stretches I’ve been doing can benefit anyone that has a desk job.
5 Daily Stretches for A Desk Job
Below I’ve gathered up the best videos I could find on YouTube to demonstrate some of the exercises that have helped me and I’m going to continue to do these long after my PT days are over. They’re quick, easy, and you can do them while you’re watching TV.
Disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional, and if you have any fragility of any part of your body, consult your doctor before trying any new stretch or exercise. I am sharing what has helped me and this isn’t intended to provide professional medical advice. Use good judgement!
Side Lying Thoracic Rotation
This is actually my favorite exercise for the upper back and chest. It’s easy to do and you can really feel the streeeetch!
Child’s Post Stretch
You’ve probably seen this one before. I like this video because she gives some options to position yourself if you have tight hips or knees.
This video demos a 3-step progression of the move, and I was really only taught to do step 2. If this is tricky for you, step 1 might be easiest. I have no intentions of kicking it up to level 3!
Pec Stretch Exercise
I was looking for a video of doing this stretch on a chair, because that’s how I have been taught to do it but I really like how this is explained and how easy it is to do, plus it’s not only a good stretch for the pecs and the back, but it’s good for your posture which many of us need.
In general, I think yoga is a great way to keep your back and neck stretched. I’m honestly not very good at it (probably because I don’t practice it much) but I like to cherry pick a few of the stretches and the Cobra Pose is one of them that feels good to me.
I do a couple of other stretches on a foam roller like this one. You can look on YouTube for a lot of really good ideas on how to best use it.
In addition to keeping these stretches on my daily to-do list, my next task is to set up a friendlier work station. I’m looking into a docking station so I can get a bigger screen (bigger than my little laptop) and keep my head UP instead of looking down all day.
Those of you with a desk job, what helps you to not get all knotted up from sitting all day? Leave a comment with your tips. I’m all ears!