"Office yoga" can help back pain aggravated by repetitive stress from work

Oct 20 2011
A few simple yoga exercises can help stave off the negative effects of a desk job, such as back pain, neck pain, degenerative disc disease and sciatica, according to an article published in Yoga Journal.

"When we're deskbound, the body has to hold a fixed, unnatural position for a long time," wrote Sienna Smith, a registered yoga therapist. "Eventually that can lead to problems, including changes in our metabolism, decreased circulation in the legs, and compression in the spine and pelvis, which places extra pressure on the connective tissue and nerves."

The spine consists of the vertebrae, the facet joints and intervertebral discs. Back pain is the result of injury, disease or age-related degeneration to these structures, as well as the surrounding ligaments and muscles.

However, a few exercises and stretches can help keep the back healthy, according to Smith.

In order to help ease the tension deep in the back muscles, an office worker can stand with the right foot on a chair and the knee positioned against the back-rest. While holding the chair with the left hand and the right hip with the right hand, slowly twist and lengthen the spine while breathing, and repeat on the other side.

One way to stretch the sides is to stand with both feet on the floor and hold the back of a chair with the right hand. While raising the left arm toward the ear, breathe and bend sideways toward the right. Next, move the left shoulder back to open up the chest, and continue breathing. Repeat on the other side.

An exercise to align the head, shoulders and upper arms can help relieve the neck and shoulders. Stand straight and clasp the hands behind the back with the palms facing forward. While breathing, slowly raise the arms straight to the sides while drawing the shoulders and head back. Keep the abdomen firm and breathe.