3 Stretches to Relieve Office Postural Stress


Relieving tight muscles of postural strain

Office workers endure chronic muscle tightness, especially here in the technology focused San Mateo county.There is no shortage of exercises and stretches to do and there in lies the problem.  Often we don’t have 30 minutes to do 8 or 10 stretches and we elect to skip it.  Resulting in a whole lot of nothing rather than doing a little bit and peeling back a layer of tension and least interrupting the chronic postural stress leading to muscle tightness (Repetitive Strain and Cumulative Trauma cycle).Preventing the tension, stiffness and all round musculoskeletal unhappiness that ratchets up over time is important for maintaining energy levels.  It is also essential in preventing more acute symptoms like a pinched nerve in your neck or shoulder tendonitis or elbow and wrist pain. These are 3 stretches you can do anytime, and anywhere.  No matter if you are a lab technician, a business traveler or a desk jockey a great deal of the tension( forward head posture/upper and/or lower crossed syndrome, the silicon valley slump etc etc) can be neutralized with these three.  This is not an exhaustive list but rather 3 good ones that will make a difference, are easy to remember and easy to do.Modified Brueggers Postural Relief PositionThis stretch can be done standing or sitting (but since many sit all day…. get up if you can). The arms come back, stand up tall (lengthen the distance from your belt to the bottom of your rib cage) and tilt your head gently back and look up at the ceiling.  Now slowly breath in through your nose and out through your mouth.  Hold it for 3 to 5 slow breaths. Don’t force it these muscles (the Scalene muscles) aren’t that big and can be very unhappy if over stretched.Take it Up a notch: Repeat the same then gently tilt your head to the left (left ear to left shoulder).  Repeat on the right.Standing Extended Childs Pose This is a alteration of a standard yoga pose.  It is just a standing version of the extended childs pose that is usually performed on the floor. Reach your arms up overhead as shown, step back from the wall and press the body into the wall to stretch the upper back and shoulders, you are trying to get the arms to extend back. Again hold it for 3 to 5 slow breaths.Take it Up a notch: As you get the hang of this it is easy to adjust your self to get a stretch in your calf and hip flexor (Psoas muscle) stretch as well.  You can cover a lot of territory by being consistent with this one.  Shoulder Blade SqueezeThis is an effective tension tamer!  Sitting up with good posture, or even better standing put you hands behind your head (this allows for some external rotation arm) and squeeze your shoulder blades together and down for 5 seconds. Repeat 5 to 10 times.  Be mindful not to push your head forward while performing this exercise. Finding it hard to activate this movement? (not uncommon) Try putting your opposite side finger on the bottom corner of the shoulder blade and push your shoulder blade against  your finger. Can’t quite reach! (also not uncommon) – use a rolled up magazine if you can’t reach. Be careful not to hold your breath; breath slowly emphasizing belly breathing.Three stretches.  Will take you less than 3 minutes. You could/should do these everyday!  If they are not getting you were you want to be give us a call and let us help you get rid of that tension and pain in the neck and shoulders!

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