Going to the office may literally be a pain in the neck (or back or hips).  Most Americans spend the majority of their day at a desk hunched over a computer.  Sound familiar? 

Long periods of sitting at a desk leads to tightness in your back and for some it is outright painful.  The root of back pain and stiffness often results from lack of activity during a person’s.  work day.  Other factors such as age, family history, or prior injuries can also contribute to the problem.  Couple that with poor posture and the results are literally painful.

Regardless of your occupation, stretching during the day can go a long way to improve your spinal mobility and preventing injury.  Stretching keeps your muscles and ligaments flexible, improves circulation, and can even be relaxing. Over time, you will also notice a difference in your range of motion and overall flexibility.  The longer you stretch, the more beneficial it will be to your body.  

Stretching doesn’t have to involve yoga, although it can, but there are also exercises that you can literally do at your desk to help alleviate joint pain.  Here are some simple stretches to try at your desk that don’t take a lot of time or effort.

Seated Spinal Twist:
Sit on the edge of your chair and place both feet on the floor in front of you. Put your right hand on your left knee.  Twist your spine towards the left and your left hand on the back of your chair behind your right hip for support.  Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Seated Figure Four Stretch:
Sit in a chair and place both feet on the floor in front of you.  Place your left ankle on your left knee and gently push down on your left knee.   Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side. 

Touch Your Toes:
Place both feet on the floor and bend down at the waist.  Let your body hang loose for 30 seconds before standing.  Touch your toes again to increase your flexibility.

Back Stretch:
Stand placing both of your feet together pointing towards your desk.  Raise your hands above your head.  Bend at your waist and let your hands rest on your desk with your palms facing down.  Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.

Standing Quad Stretch:
Face your desk and place your right hand on your desk for balance.  Bend your quadricep (leg) behind you and grab it with your left hand.  Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and switch side.  If you are having trouble holding the stretch with your hand, you can also place your shin on a chair behind you as a modification