Stretches You Can Do At Home to Relieve Back and Neck Pain

The Aches and Pains of Working From Home

Working from Home Poses a New Challenge

For the past few weeks many people are experiencing the new norm of “working from home.” While for others this may be “business as usual”. But in both cases, we are seeing an increase in neck and low back pains and related symptoms down the arms or legs.

With the increase in complaints, I feel it a must to address just a couple basic reasons and tips that may be of help. New work routines and relaxed atmospheres of working from home come with some new postural challenges of how to work and how long to work. In most cases not too long ago, people would go to work and generally use a computer at a desk, sitting up in a more ergonomic position, and taking breaks throughout the day with various tasks around their workspace. Today however, many people are almost camping out on the couch or at a kitchen table for hours at a time, creating muscular dysfunction, tightness, and even pain.

Tips for Relieving Back and Neck Pain

Without going into too many details, there are a couple of basic ideas that can be tried. 

1. Limit most work to about 45 minutes to 1 hour at time, taking short 3-5-minute breaks to change positions and stretch.   Doing this will help keep a person from “slumping” into their computer, which can create stress and aches in the neck and back, while giving opportunity to stretch and loosen these muscles to help them from getting too fatigued in new or differing positions.

2. Change up your workspace. Every few hours or even on different days, set up at a different work location such as the couch, kitchen table, kitchen counter and so on. These differing postural positions of sitting at different heights or standing will encourage the muscles of the spine to work and balance rather than continually fight a specific posture.

3. Stretching (See Videos Below) Stretching is an absolute must. No matter the job or the posture, the muscles of the spine are involved to hold or move the joints and bones. Basic stretches of bending the neck or back from side to side, forward and back, or turning is a great start. However, some people may need a little more for the neck and shoulder or low back complaints, especially if you are starting to (or already) have numbness or tingling down arms or legs.  

Hopefully you will find these tips useful, however if these actions cause pain or more discomfort, please discontinue and seek further advise from your Chiropractor or Family doctor.

Lower Back Stretches (Sciatic Pain)

For the low back, I often recommend sitting in a chair and crossing your leg so the foot will rest across the opposite knee.  Once in this position, lean forward and bend the head and chest towards the resting foot.   This stretch should be felt in the buttock or lower back and thigh of the crossed leg.  This action will help to engage and stretch the muscles and ligaments around the pelvis and lower back and can often help reduce sciatic or low back pains.

Simple Neck Stretch (Relieve Neck Tightness)

An extra stretch for the neck would be posterior translation.  While sitting or standing upright, imagine pushing your head straight backwards while keeping your eyes level to the ground.  This motion of gliding your head backwards will activate your cervical postural (neck) muscles and will often be felt at the bottom of the head and across the shoulders at the base of the neck.

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