If you’ve been working from home for what feels like forever, you might find you’re experiencing some new aches and pains. One of the most common complaints I receive is from office workers experiencing upper back pain and shoulder discomfort. This can range from mild discomfort to debilitating pain. If you are one of the many people suffering from back pain, here are a few simply ways to start feeling better:
1. Stretch those pecs
Sitting in front of a computer all day will shorten your pectoralis major muscle causing your shoulders to internally rotate (that’s just a fancy way of saying your shoulders get rounded forward). So how do you combat that? You guessed it, stretch! I suggest the doorway pec stretch. To begin, stand in an open doorway. Raise your arm up to the side, bent at a 90- degree angle with your palms facing forward. Rest your palm on the door frame. Slowly step forward with one foot. You should feel the stretch in the front of your chest. Hold for 60 seconds. Repeat on the other side. If you feel any pain in your back or shoulder blade, simply adjust the angle of your arm by sliding your palm up or down the door frame an inch or two until your shoulder feels comfortable.
2. Prone I, T, Y exercises
I love these back strengthening exercises, because they can be done almost anywhere with no equipment necessary. To begin, lie on your stomach with your forehead touching the ground, arms straight out above your head with your hands in a thumbs-up position (this is the ‘I’ position). Raise your arms as high as you can, pause and then slowly lower them back to the ground. Next, place your arms in a ‘Y’ position and repeat the repetition. Lastly follow the same steps except with your arms stretched out beside you in a ‘T’ position. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
3. Band pull-apart
This next exercise is used to open up the chest and strengthen the muscles of your back and rear shoulders. This one will require a resistance band. To begin, stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold the band with an over hand grip and your arms straight out in front of you. Slowly pull your hands apart by squeezing your shoulder blades together. If you are feeling this exercise in the front of your shoulders or arms and not your back, then you may need to adjust the height of your arms and really focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions. Remember, the best way to ensure a healthy, pain free body is through consistent stretching and strengthening. The best results will appear when you are able to incorporate these types of routines into your lifestyle.