Home Office Exercises for Lower Back Pain
Like many people these days, I spend an extra-ordinary amount of time sitting in front of my computer in my home office and often wonder if sitting is the new smoking as seen in many headlines. According to the Heart Foundation, over 25% of American adults sit for more than 8 hours every day and as much as 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lives according to the American Chiropractic Association.
To overcome the negative side effects of too much sitting, the Heart Foundation recommends sitting with good posture. To address this issue, I have recently purchased a gaming chair which is a significant improvement over my previous office chair and not terribly expensive. The features that I have found most useful in a gaming chair for office use are:
- Adjustable lumbar support
- Adjustable neck support
- Forward and backward tilt of the backrest
- Adjustable seat height
There is one issue that I have with the gaming chair that I purchased: the faux leather covering does make me feel overly warm if I sit for long periods of time. It turns out that this may be a benefit as the Heart Foundation also recommends getting up every hour and moving about by walking around and stretching.
In the home office, you are not restricted to doing exercises and stretches at your desk as you would be in a work office. You can set up a yoga mat behind your home office desk if you have a hard floor surface or do exercises on a carpeted floor to avoid hurting your knees.
I do the following exercises and stretches mid-morning to help break up sitting all day.
- Dead Bug: Lie on your back with your arms extended in front of you as if you are reaching for the ceiling. Bend your hips to 90 degrees then bend your knees to 90 degrees. Flatten your back onto the floor, rotating your pelvis up. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Extend one leg, straightening the knee and hip to drop the leg just above the ground. Simultaneously drop the opposite arm above your head just above the ground. Make sure to keep your back flat on the floor. Return to the starting position. Repeat with the opposite side.
Why I like the Dead Bug exercise: The Dead Bug is very much like an inverted Bird Dog exercise which is recommended by Stuart McGill, Ph.D., head of the spine biomechanics laboratory at the University of Waterloo in Canada. I find that being able to feel my lower back against the floor in the Dead Bug position forces me to keep my back in proper position and to keep my core tight during the exercise.
- Press Up: Lie flat on your stomach while placing your hands next to your shoulders. Push up as far as you can go with your arms, while letting your back sag and relax. Keep buttocks relaxed. Hold. Return to starting position.
- Child Pose: Position yourself on your hands and knees, with arms shoulder width apart and knees together. Lean back bringing your buttocks to rest on your heels while keeping your hands out in front of you and head relaxed between your shoulders, hold. Return to starting position.
You will be able to find these exercises in both our online exercise prescription service, PT-Connect, and our personal exercise mobile app, PT-Helper Pro.
Reminder: Please consult your physician or health professional before engaging in any physical activity and stop if you experience pain or discomfort.