Sitting at a desk all day can be a pain in the neck – literally! So this week for wellness Wednesday I am sharing some office chair stretches (and tips) to help you ditch that neck pain!
Office Chair Tips
Before we even consider stretches, let’s talk about a few things you can do to help cut back on neck pain at your desk. I’m going to assume that you have your chair at the correct height for your desk and that if you cannot comfortably sit with your feet on the floor that you have a footstool you can put your feet on during the day. If either of those is not true – start out by making sure those changes are made.
Next, I want you to notice how you sit in your chair while working. Are you sitting with a forward lean so your chin is in front of your shoulders, and shoulders are in front of your hips? If so, back that torso up! You want ears over shoulders, shoulders over hips for proper spinal alignment. When you are leaning forward like that you are putting so much extra pressure on your neck and back for no reason which equals automatic neck (and/or back) pain.
Now try sitting back in your chair so your back is resting on the backrest of your chair. If your chair is leaning back too far for this to be comfortable, either adjust the chair set-up or use a small pillow to provide you with comfortable back support.
Once you’ve done these, make sure that as you work you don’t let your chin start to drift forward again (this is also true when driving in a car!). Really become mindful of keeping your ears over your shoulders. That one change will make a huge difference.
Office Chair Stretches
- Ear to shoulder: relax your shoulders and while sitting tall through the spine gently lower your ear towards your shoulder. Hold for 15-30 seconds, repeat on the other side
- Chin to chest: sitting tall in your chair gently lower your chin towards your chest getting a nice stretch through the back of your neck. Hold for 15-30 seconds and slowly lift your head.
- Side-to-side stretch: combine previous two stretches. Slowly lower ear towards one shoulder, then gently roll down towards your chest, then up to the other shoulder. Reverse, lowering back to the chest and the first shoulder. Be careful not to allow the head to roll backwards.
- Side neck stretch: Place your left arm behind your back, right hand on the head. Gently lower your nose towards the right underarm allowing the right hand to apply a gentle pressure on the head to assist in the stretch. Be careful not to pull on the head or neck, the hand is there just add a little pressure. Hold 15-30 seconds then slowly lift head back to neutral and repeat on the opposite side.
- Seated Cat/Cow: place hands on thighs fingers facing inward. Inhale as you press your chest towards your thighs as you look up into a seated cow posture, then exhale as you round through the back into a seated cat posture. Repeat 5-10 times.
- Forward Fold: Sitting tall in your chair, take a deep breath in and as you exhale fold forward over your knees. Allow your head and arms to hang heavy and breath for 15-30 seconds. Very slowly make your way back up to a seated position.
I hope you’ve found these tips helpful, and I hope they help you keep that pain in the neck a thing of the past!