Back Pain

4 Simple Desk Stretches for the Entire Body

4 Simple Desk Stretches for the Entire Body

Do you spend a majority of your work days sitting in a chair? Many of us do, and while we know that sometimes we get back aches or sore muscles from sitting all day, we can’t always do much about it. Or can we? Read on to see our four simple desk stretches for your entire body.

Prolonged sitting can shorten your hamstrings and hip flexors, contribute to neck and low back pain, and even diminish core strength. Without frequent standing and walking breaks, we subject ourselves to a variety of postural changes and medical issues.

We’ve talked before about the negative effects that sitting can have on your body. Today we’re expanding on that and showing you four easy desk stretches to keep the body moving and feeling good throughout the day.

Here are a few tips and desk stretches for office workers

Proper Sitting Ergonomics
Your ankles should be in neutral with feet flat on the floor, knees bent at 90 degrees, hips bent at 90 degrees, trunk in neutral, shoulders in neutral, elbows bent at 90 degrees resting on armrests, wrists in neutral with keyboard directly underneath the hands, and monitor at eye level so your neck remains neutral and relaxed.

It’s recommended to take 5-10 minutes every hour to get up, stretch, and move your body.

As always, if these exercises increase your pain at all, or if they don’t improve your symptoms after a few days, you will probably benefit from a free evaluation with a physical therapist. You can request an appointment here and we’ll reach out to you to schedule.

Office Workers Guide to Stretching & Ergonomics

Video Recap with Desk Stretches
– Seated Hamstring Stretch :: To stretch legs and hamstrings
– Seated Thoracic Rotation Stretch :: To stretch mid section, spine, trunk, and core
– Upper Trapezius Stretch :: Loosen neck and shoulders
– Levator Scapulae Stretch :: Relieve and prevent neck pain

See our other workplace stretches here.

4 Simple Desk Stretches for the Entire Body

WorkFit Services For Every Industry
Our WorkFit team consults with businesses in the manufacturing, office, and manual labor setting. We offer the following services:
– Corporate Wellness :: Designed to lower employee healthcare costs and reduce sick days. Research has shown that corporate wellness ROI can average $2.71 for every $1 spent. That’s a great return on your investment.
– Functional Capacity Evaluation :: Benefiting employers and employees by assessing a person’s ability to perform their work-related activities, before or after an injury
– Rehabilitative Services :: Safely and smoothly returning to work after an injury
– Worksite Injury Prevention :: Repetitive stress injuries are the largest category of worker injuries, and they’re also the most preventable. We’ll show you how.

One Happy Ergonomic Client
“It’s been a rewarding experience partnering with Northern over the past several years. We initially started working with them to perform ergonomic assessments for employees in both the factory and office setting with great success but, we’re now expanding this program to promote overall good health. The NPT associates understand the mechanics of not only allowing the employee to function properly at work, but to take that knowledge and apply it to their home life and family members. It’s a win-win situation for us at BISSELL.” – Dave G., Manager – Safety & Security, BISSELL


Learn more about our WorkFit services and request a team training session, or schedule a free consultation with a physical therapist.

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4 Simple Desk Stretches for the Entire Body

5 Tips To Avoid Pain After Shoveling

5 Tips To Avoid Pain After Shoveling

Anyone who’s from Michigan can relate – you wake up in the morning and look out the window expecting to see green grass but instead you’re greeted with 6 inches of snow. It looks pretty from inside, the first snow of the season always does. Then you realize you’ve got an entire driveway to shovel before heading off for work. Ugh…is it spring yet?

Oftentimes we don’t realize the effort that it takes to push snow. We’re focused on getting it out of the way but the next day the pain and soreness kicks in. Snow shoveling is a repetitive activity that can cause muscle strain, especially to the lower back and shoulders. We’ve put together some tips and stretches to help you avoid pain after shoveling.

Tips to avoid injury and pain after shoveling

  • Lift smaller loads of snow.
  • Bend your knees, keep your back straight, and lift with your legs rather than your back.
  • Use a shovel with a shaft that lets you keep your back straight while lifting. A short shaft will cause you to bend more to lift the load. Using a shovel that’s too long makes the weight at the end heavier.
  • Step in the direction in which you are throwing the snow to prevent the low back from twisting, as excessive twisting puts pressure on the spine.
  • Take frequent breaks, stand up straight and walk around periodically to extend the lower back.

Stretches and exercises to avoid pain after shoveling

Getting ready to head out and tackle the sidewalks? Here are a few stretches and exercises you can do to avoid pain after shoveling.

5 Tips To Avoid Pain After Shoveling

Physical Therapist, Julie Blodgett, shows Frosty the proper way to stretch your low back to avoid pain after shoveling.

● Low back: Stand up straight, place your hands toward the back of your hips, and bend backwards slightly for several seconds.

● Hamstrings: While holding onto something for support, straighten your leg out and place your heel up on a chair, tighten your thigh, and pull your toes towards your body. Feel the stretch in the back of your leg. There’s no need to bend forward and it’s better if you don’t. Just stand up tall and keep both legs active. Hold for 10 breaths and repeat on the other side.

● Quads: Holding onto something for support, stand up straight and bend one leg, grabbing your foot up near your buttocks. You should feel this stretch in the front of the thigh of the bent leg as you hold for 10 breaths. Repeat on the other side.

Core: While standing, imagine pulling your belly button in towards your spine and engage your abdominal muscles without letting your pelvis tuck under. Hold for 5-10 seconds while breathing normally and repeat a few times. This exercise uses the innermost layer of abdominal and back muscles.

● Mindfulness: As you’re shoveling, focus on the rotating movements happening in your hip joints. Place your finger on the front of your hip joints (located at the top of each thigh near the groin) and practice a few sways side to side, simulating raking. Avoid letting the rotation happen at your waist—this will cause unnecessary movement around your lumbar spine.


If you’re experiencing pain after shoveling snow or you have complaints of back pain, neck pain, or shoulder pain, schedule a free consultation with one of our physical therapists. We can work together on a few stretches and exercises specifically for the areas where you feel pain.

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5 Tips To Avoid Pain After Shoveling

Five Ways Your Posture is Hurting You

Five Ways Your Posture is Hurting You

Raise your hand if you’re guilty of having poor posture…I’m right there with you. In fact, poor posture habits are something that most of us are guilty of from time to time. Have you ever really stopped to consider the consequences your body suffers as a result? Now that we so often have a smartphone or tablet in our hands, we spend even more time in a hunched position. These postures can have detrimental effects on our spine and the surrounding joints and soft tissues.

When you look at the spine from the side, you’ll see that it’s not straight up and down, it has several curves that create an “S” shape, which is important for absorbing the stress placed on our bodies. When we lose those normal curves due to continued poor posture, it can cause pain. The lower back and the neck have a normal backward curve and the upper back has a forward curve. Postural dysfunction occurs when the normal curves increase or decrease, leading to pain in and around your spine.

A common postural issue we often see in physical therapy is a forward head posture. A forward head posture is seen when the earlobe sits in front of the tip of the shoulder, causing an increased curve in your upper back. Over time, these poor postures can cause the following problems that often lead patients to seek physical therapy:

Five Ways Your Posture is Hurting You1. Headaches
When you lose the normal backward curve of your neck, and your cervical spine straightens or begins to curve forward, ultimately placing stress on the muscles, leading to headaches. Additionally, the nerves and joints in the upper neck can be compressed, causing pain in the neck and into the head as well.

2. Shoulder impingement
When the forward curve of your upper back increases, your shoulder blades sit more forward and higher on your back. When raising your arms overhead, your shoulder blade rotates a certain way to allow full shoulder motion. When the position of your shoulder blade changes, this rotation can decrease and you are now at an increased risk of pinching the tendons in your shoulder when you raise your arm overhead. This is called shoulder impingement and it can lead to pain and the break down of these tendons, increasing your chance of tendon tears.

3. Jaw pain
Pain in and around the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is common with forward head posture due to abnormal stress placed on the mandible (lower jaw bone) and the soft tissues around your TMJ. If you compensate for the loss of your cervical curve with head extension, the muscles that open your mouth are stretched and your mouth will rest in an open position. In order to keep your mouth closed at rest, the muscles that close your mouth will work extra hard which can cause pain in the cheeks, head, and jaw. Additionally, increased stress on the soft tissues around the TMJ can cause pain and clicking or popping.

Five Ways Your Posture is Hurting You4. Neck pain
Loss of the cervical curve will place increased tension on the ligaments along the back of the neck. This increased tension can lead to the formation of bone spurs where these ligaments attach, as well as an increased chance of tears in your discs, leading to herniated discs. Bone spurs and herniated discs can affect the nerves that run from your spinal cord in your neck to your arms, causing pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness.

5. Respiratory dysfunction
In order to take a nice deep breath, the lungs need room to expand. When your posture is hunched forward, your ribs have less ability to move and expand, causing more shallow breathing patterns and excessive use of the accessory breathing muscles in your neck. This type of breathing pattern can further contribute to neck pain and have serious effects for people with underlying respiratory disorders.

We’re here to help
The good news? Physical therapy can help reverse all these issues. We’re trained in manual therapy techniques to stretch and mobilize your tight soft tissues and joints and we can show you exercises designed to strengthen your weak muscles to improve your overall posture and movement. To request an appointment for a free consultation, click here!







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