Many students and office workers spend the vast majority of their time studying or at the desk. This month, most of us are now stuck at home, being responsible human beings. Whether cramming for a big exam or procrastinating, online shopping anyone? -- We’re stuck sitting for long periods of time. According to the Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA), approximately 85% of people in Canada experience back pain. With that being said, here are 5 exercises to help you stretch and relieve your upper back and neck while sitting:
You can perform this stretch either sitting down or standing up. Sit or stand up straight then interlock your hands, placing them at the back of your head. Slowly tuck your chin towards your chest and apply gentle pressure to the back of your head until you feel a stretch. You can hold this stretch for 30 seconds at a time. You can also play around with different angles to find other tight spots in your neck.
Thoracic Extension on a Foam Roller
Place the foam roller along your mid trapezoids (the middle of your back, under your shoulder blades). Give yourself a big bear hug and now you can loosen up your back through thoracic spine extension and flexion. The key to this exercise is to keep your butt in contact with the ground at all times. Then gently massage your back over the foam roller 10 times.
Place your hands and knees on the ground. Inhale as you slowly lift your head and butt at the same time. Then, exhale slowly as you arch your back like a cat stretching. You can repeat these movements 10 times, holding the position each time you reach the top and bottom. Remember to breathe!
Thoracic Spine Rotation
Start in the same position as cat-cow. Place one hand behind your head then gently rotate your upper body until your elbow is pointing to the sky while not moving your hips. Perform alternating repetitions on each side and do 10 repetitions for each set.
T’s, Y’s and I’s
Set a workout bench at an incline of 30°. Sit on the bench with your chest against the incline.
Bring your shoulders back by retracting your scapula - imagine you’re pinching a pencil between your shoulder blades to form the letters: T, Y, and I.
Play around with the repetition schemes and styles of this exercise by alternating arms or doing them simultaneously. Always consult a professional before jumping into new exercises. If you have previously injuries, ask your doctor if you should be doing certain exercises. There should not be pain involved in these exercises, so please discontinue and see a physical therapist or kinesiologist for advice.
WRITTEN BY: HERMAN CHU
Proofread By: Ev Wong
Edited By: Renée Y. Chan, MS, RD
Canada's low back pain epidemic. (2019, May 1). Retrieved from https://www.chiropractic.ca/blog/canadas-low-back-pain-epidemic/.
Ethier, J. (2019, December 10). 3 Muscle Imbalance Fixes For Quicker Gains (Stop Neglecting These). Retrieved from https://builtwithscience.com/muscle-imbalance-fixes/.
Vogel, A. (2019, January 22). 6 Thoracic Spine Exercises to Improve Mobility. Retrieved from https://www.stack.com/a/thoracic-spine-exercises.