Working From Home Stretches

In the past few months, a large majority of my patients are working from home. These patients tend to be in an increased amount of pain due to lack of movement. Even though patients report continuing to exercise they have lost the small movements in their daily lives. They are no longer walking to meetings, taking water cooler breaks, or visiting a co-worker at their desk. In a lot of cases the distance to the restroom has decreased and they are simply sitting comparatively longer. If you have been working from home and are having new or increased pain this article has tips to help.

The first thing I tell patients when they have work related complaints is to set alarms every 50 to 60 minutes. This is a great way to let you know that it is time to move. Once your alarm chimes get up and take a walk around the block or do a small stretching routine. Below are a few stretches that can help with the most common working from home complaints.

Chest Opener

Sitting at a computer most of the day causes most people to hunch and bring their head forward. To combat this, you will want to spend some time opening the chest and front of the neck.

Place your arms behind you and try to get your elbows as close as possible. Remember to always keep a slight bend in the elbow. Keep your shoulders down and look up. Focus on lengthening the neck instead of pushing it as far back as you can. Also be sure to focus on standing tall without bending the back too much, again think length. Hold this stretch for 30 to 60 seconds.

Side Stretch

General sitting can compress the ribs and computer hunching can cause the lats to get tight. To alleviate some of this you can perform a side stretch.

Interlock your fingers and place your arms above your head. Lean over to one side without shifting the hips too much. Be sure you are leaning and not rotating. As with the chest opener you want to lengthen the muscle, not fold over too far. Think tall! Hold for 30 to 60 seconds on each side.

Forearm Stretch

For many typing is stressful on the wrists and forearms. This can cause pain in the wrists, elbows, and fingers. To help with these types of pains it is very important to stretch your forearm flexors and extensors.

Extend our arm out in front of you with the palm facing up. Gently, grab the your hand with your opposite hand and pull it back towards you to stretch your forearm flexors. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds and switch to the other side. Extend your arm out in front of you with the palm facing down. Gently, grab your hand with your opposite hand and pull it towards you to stretch your forearm extensors. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds and switch sides. Remember to be very gentle as the wrists can be easily strained or sprained. 

Why hold 30-60 Seconds?

You want to hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds. Studies have shown that muscles need time to relax and lengthen. Although, there have been many different findings on the exact time a stretch should be held most of the research suggests between 30 to 60 seconds. If you have additional questions about how to preform these stretches or if you would like to learn more feel free to reach out.

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Kim Schemahorn Massage Therapist in Lafayatte

Kim Schemahorn is a Medical Massage Therapist at ESP Sports Medicine. She specializes in myofascial release technique and deep tissue sports massage. She has been a massage therapist for 7 years and uses a variety of tools to create changes in soft tissue. These tools include muscle scraping, vacuum cupping, and aromatherapy. Her hands-on technique is best described as slow, broad, and deep. Therefore, she waits for the tissue to change when applying pressure. As a result, she creates long lasting changes in the muscle and soft tissue.