5 Easy Exercises to help with Low Back Pain at the Office
Hello everyone! I’m Dr Chana Sztajer from Golden Spines Chiropractic in Chatswood in Sydney. Do you often get lower back pain from sitting in your office chair all day? Especially when you try to stand up after sitting for so long? Perhaps you’ve even seen someone for your lower back pain, like your local chiropractor or physiotherapist and gotten some great stretches, but you’d really like something that will help strengthen your muscles that’s easy and won’t take too much time away from your desk? If so, you’re at the right place – keep watching this video as I’ll be showing you just that.
So today I’m going to run through 5 easy exercises to help you with low back pain when in the office. These are strengthening exercises. I will be doing another video on stretches you can do in the office to help with low back pain.
So for the purposes of this video, I’m assuming that you spend most of your time in the office sitting down. A study by the CAA in 2012 showed that the average time the average white collar office worker spent standing every day was 71 minutes out of the whole 24 hours in the day. In fact, one of the best ways to relieve low back pain is to get up every hour or so and go for a 5 minute walk. If you do have a standing desk fantastic, but these are mostly for those people who spend all day sitting.
So today I’m going to show you 3 exercises that you can do while you’re sitting at your desk, and 2 exercises to do when you stand up. I’m even in my ‘office duds’ to really show you that this is not something you need to go to the gym to do.
1) Tummy Squeeze
So the first exercise I’m going to show you are called ‘Core activations’ or the ‘Tummy squeeze’. It’s very simple but very effective if done consistently.
Firstly, you need to be sitting up straight in your chair. Place one of your hands on your stomach, and one on the small of your back. Your goal is to get them closer together. You want to draw your stomach towards your spine. Make sure you can still breathe and you should still also be able to talk, just like I am right now.
Eventually, you’ll be able to do it without using your hands as ‘markers’.
2) Pelvic Tilts or Seated Crunches
Ok, these aren’t as hard as they sound. Pelvic tilts are a very small movement where you simply tilt your pelvis backwards, and then forwards. When you have tight lower back muscles, your pelvis is usually tilted FORWARDS, making your lower back arch and your tummy stick out. To strengthen your abdominals, try to tilt your pelvis BACKWARDS, rounding your low back slightly and crunching your abs. You can do this while you’re sitting at your desk, you can also do it sitting on a Swiss ball for a bit more movement. Try to do as many as you can, whenever you think of it.
3) ‘Look Boss, No Hands’
This is pretty much a modified squat for the office. Squatting is a fantastic exercise to strengthen your large glute muscles as well as your quads and hamstrings, which will help take strain off your lower back muscles. You don’t have to go to a gym and have a heavy weight on your back to get the benefits of a squat. In fact you can squat by simply getting and and down from your office chair.
Each time you want to get up, activate your core (ie Tummy squeeze), then squeeze your glutes to get up. Now the slower you do this, the more you’ll work those muscles, all while keeping your hands above the desk and your back straight. When you’re sitting down, do the same thing in reverse.
4) Hip Extensions
Extending your hip helps to strengthen the OPPOSITE muscles to your tight hip flexors, and can help to pull the pelvis back into alignment. Standing up either behind your desk chair, or holding onto a wall, put all your weight on one foot and extend your opposite hip by squeezing your glutes (butt muscles) and lifting your leg backwards, with your toes facing the floor. Be careful not to arch your lower back – focus on keeping your pelvis tilted backward. Repeat multiple times on both sides.
5) Desk Plank
There are many variations of these and I’ll quickly run through them from easiest to hardest. So the last one is basically an ‘easy’ plank. You do it at your desk first, as being higher off the ground makes it easier.
- Plank on elbows at desk
- Plank on hands at desk
- Side planks both sides
- Same as above but on chair
If you are experiencing lower back pain in the office, and you’d like to know what is your next step, call us on 02 9412 2722 and book an appointment at Golden Spines Chiropractic. To repeat, that’s 02 9412 2722. This is Dr Chana Sztajer from Golden Spines Chiropractic, your Gold Standard for Spinal Health. Hope you have a great day and remember to Heal, Renew, and Live Life.