The spine is a very complex structure but plays such a major role in our daily tasks. In my years of coaching one trend has remained the same. The majority of people I work with sit down for a living. I always say they live life in straight lines.
A second constant, or common problem is, many people complain of back pain. If you sit down whether it be on a desk or plane and you don't have strategies to take care of your spine, then you can expect pain.
I believe stand up desks, taking walks around the office and stretching at the desk are options but I will outline three simple exercises you include in the daily routine.
Cat camel Stretch:
This is a great way to mobilise the back and reduce stiffness while having reduced weight. On your hands and knees, slowly alternate between arching and rounding your back so that all three sections of your spine: lumbar (lower), thoracic (middle) and cervical (upper)’extend together and then flex together. Do this slowly and gently, and don’t force it. Repeat with control for around 5 repetitions
Build a more flexible spine with this stretch. Note you should not feel pain at all throughout this movement. Start by standing on a stable, elevated surface such as a box, bench, or thick set of mats. With a barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell, or other weight in your hands, stand up tall with your legs straight and perfectly together. Begin the movement by tucking your chin into your chest, then slowly flexing your spine (rounding your back) one vertebrae at a time as you feel the weight “pull” you lower towards the floor. Continue lowering, being sure to keep the weight balanced on the ball of your foot so that you do not lean back. Repeat for 5-8 repetitions.
This is a way to help reduce the rounded shoulders and forward tilted posture that sitting for hours on end can cause.
Set up on hands and knees with hands under shoulders, knees under hips. You can place one hand behind your hand or keep the arm straight whilst going into as much rotation as possible. Look at your elbow or hand as you get to the top of the rotation.
There are many more strategies you can use to help build a healthy spine, to negate the daily stresses you place it under. If you are in pain still, then don't forget to consult a specialist, such as the one we have at the YourGym team - Nick.