Back and leg pain are common complaints from those who work in an office, and it’s not a surprise. People who sit at a desk are especially prone to it due to the stationary position they maintain for most of the eight-hour work day.
Taking a few minutes every hour or so to stretch can do wonders for your posture and overall comfortability as you sit at your desk.
We teamed up with local chiropractor Dr. David Waale to find out which stretches he recommends doing to help relieve the pain in overused or tight muscles.
Here are four stretches to do in the office with explanations from Dr. Waale on how and why.
1. Piriformis Muscle Stretch
How: Cross your leg over the opposite knee, put some pressure on your leg—pushing it straight down—and subtly lean into it. Hold 30 seconds. Repeat three times with each leg.
Why: “The piriformis is a deep hip muscle and a rotator of the hip that turns the leg out, but it can get really tight with prolonged sitting. Also, the sciatic nerve comes out of the low back and runs down very close to, and sometimes through, the piriformis muscle. The nerve can get pinched, and you’ll feel pain down your leg. This will stretch that out.”
2. Postural Sitting
How: Sit up straight in your chair. Bend down, falling through your knees. When you come up, arch your back, pushing the butt back. Then settle in about 10 degrees less than your arched position. This should get you to a point of good posture.
Why: “Sitting at our computers all day causes us to have awful posture. We want to bring good posture back for many reasons, including the fact that it increases cardiac capacity, increases respiratory capacity and promotes normal spinal curves for shock absorption. This helps slow down arthritis and degenerative processes, which can start in your 20s. If you do this several times a day, you’ll begin to stand and sit up straighter naturally.”
How: Sit on the edge of your chair. Put your right leg out, toes up and lean in. Hold and then repeat with the other leg.
Why: “Sitting all day tightens your hamstrings. To stretch this, we need to lengthen the leg. You don’t have to lean far and you’ll feel it all the way up your leg.”
4. Fire Your Glutes
How: Sit on the edge of your chair with feet flat on the floor. Reach your arms out and stand up.
Why: “We think of our butt/glute as something we sit on, but there are actually a lot of muscles in there. If you are sitting all day long, the muscle doesn’t activate, and you need it for stability through your back. Also, when people get up from their chairs, they tend to use their hands or arms to push themselves up. This gets us used to using those muscles instead.”
Dr. David Waale on Chiropractic
Dr. Waale: “The reason I decided to go into chiropractic is that it made so much sense. The whole essence of treating a patient with chiropractic care is to address the problem, not just the symptoms. You can take all the pills in the world, but if you don’t address the underlying issue, you are not going to get well.
“I like the fact the chiropractic takes a whole-body approach. As chiropractors, we not only look at the spine, muscles, and joints, we also talk about exercise, dietary habits and lifestyle choices as well. You really can’t separate one part of health from another.
“I love nothing more than helping a patient regain their health and outlook on life. It’s a great feeling when you can see them just start to come back and do all the things they used to love doing.”
Dr. Waale graduated from Logan College of Chiropractic in Chesterfield, Missouri. He has practiced in both Wisconsin and North Dakota and is also licensed in Minnesota.
Waale Chiropractic Clinic
417 Main Ave., Suite 301