As much as we try to take care of our bodies, most people spend more time sedentary than active. A primary reason for this is our increased reliance on technology, meaning that we work in front of computers, rely on Skype instead of in-person meetings, and even in our off-work time, we are texting, emailing and continuing to engage with technology. Most of us have dishwashers, so we aren’t even washing and drying our dishes at the end of a long day.
Now more than ever we need to consider what sitting at our desks is doing to our backs. Victoria Chiropractor Dr. Stephanie Louie is always encouraging her patients to move around as much as possible to prevent lower back pain from sitting too long.
Back exercises don’t have to be time-consuming and can be integrated into one’s workday. Dr. Louie has provided the following three exercises to promote back health.
- Therapeutic Wobble Chair – The wobble chair is designed to help loosen up the back while decreasing tightness and stiffness. This innovative chair provides 360 degrees of rotation, 40 degrees of side-to-side flexion, and 35 degrees of front-to-back flexion on a universal-type joint to facilitate many combinations of exercise motion needed for lumbar disc mobility, rehydration and nutrient delivery to discs, and waste elimination. This is a helpful tool when rehabilitating a disc injury. This chair can be purchased through a Chiropractic Clinic, including Dr. Louie’s clinic Mind Body Spine in Victoria, BC. As with any therapeutic device, Wobble Chair users should be trained by a chiropractor on how to use it properly, in order to prevent misuse, which could result in injury.
- Full-Spine Postural Exercise – Dr. Louie sometimes comments to patients that they’re “holding the weight of the world on their shoulders” – this 20-second back exercise allows them to bring their shoulders back down, helping them to overcome daily tension that builds up.Dr. Louie suggests doing this full-spine postural exercise every 20 – 30 minutes, especially while working in one position, like at a desk. It doesn’t require much time, yet significantly promotes good posture.While sitting on the edge of a chair, the first step is to roll your shoulders back and keep them down, not squeezing the muscles between your shoulder blades. Keep your feet just wider than your shoulders and turn out your toes a bit. Rest your palms face-up in your lap. Hold your head so it is straight, your hard palate should be parallel to the floor and tuck in your chin just a bit. While in this position take 5 – 10 big belly breaths in and out so that your stomach expands and then deflates.This exercise resets one’s posture, as we tend to become tense over the course of the day, resulting in our shoulders becoming elevated and our heads push forward, away from being aligned with our spines.
- Neck Flexor Exercises – Since we have a lot of imbalances in our bodies, one of the common consequences is pain at the back of one’s neck. One’s head weighs 10 – 12 lb., and as we hunch over our computers and other electronics, this weight gets pushed forward, with the muscles in the back of our necks getting tight and the front-of-the-neck muscles get loose. Neck flexor exercises, taught by a chiropractor, can relieve neck pain while correcting a muscle imbalance and improving one’s posture.