As more people work from home today than at any previous point in modern history, people are learning the importance of an ergonomically correct setup. The combination of long hours in a seat that isn’t made for hours of sitting and the stress of working from home is causing an increase of stress in the back and neck. The tension can cause headaches, restless sleep, and limited mobility. The neck is at particularly risk as people tend to look down at their screens, keyboards, or other items instead of looking straight ahead with their necks in a neutral position. To alleviate the tension, there are several easy things to do during a break, such as stretching your neck by rolling your head around on your shoulders or giving yourself a quick neck massage when you stand up to stretch your legs.
There are also things you can do to help stretch and improve the muscles in your back and neck (besides adopting a better posture). The article recommends three exercises to do when your back and neck feel tense.
- Open Book – this exercise requires lying on the floor and slowly moving your body into a very stretched out position.
- Thoracic Rotation – this exercise is done while sitting on the floor or chair if necessary.
- Wall Pec Stretch – this exercise requires a wall and some space to really stretch.
All three exercises are recommended to be done in repetitions so that you can strengthen the muscles, not just stretch and relax them. By the end of a session, you should feel looser in your upper back, shoulders, and neck.
The article provides step by step instructions on how to do each exercise, as well as images and a quick video. If you would like more details or to see how the exercises are done, check out 3 Gentle Stretches for Upper Back and Neck Pain from All Those Hours of sitting (and Stress).