Body

Survive your makeshift home office with these back, neck and shoulder exercises

Back it up.

By Maddison Hockey
Sedentary jobs are hard on our backs at the best of times.
If you work a typical desk job, you probably know all too well the aches and pains that sitting all day can cause.
In our usual work settings, we are often provided with lumbar-approved chairs and support from workplace services on setting up your desk to minimise strain.
Working from home, however, is a whole other painful situation.
You may be perched at your kitchen table or using an ironing board as a desk (trust us, we've seen it). Even if you're one of the lucky few with an at-home-office, the set-up may not be ideal on your back.
According to Lucie O'Shaughnessy, physiotherapist at Bupa UK, there are a few exercises or "deskercises" you can do to help your WFH (working from home) back pain.
They won't involve any complicated moves, we promise. Image: Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Seated spinal rotation

  • While seated, cross your arms over your chest.
  • Grab your shoulders.
  • Rotate your upper body from the waist, turning gently from left to right as far as you can.
  • You should feel a tension on both side of your lower back as it stretches out.

Posterior shoulder stretch

  • Hold one arm across your body.
  • Pull your elbow into your chest.
  • You should feel your shoulder gently stretching.

Shoulder shrugs

  • Gently lift your shoulders.
  • Let them slowly fall.
  • You should feel tension being released as your shoulders drop.
WATCH BELOW: At-home Pilates exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Story continues after video.

Shoulder extensions

  • Stand up and stretch your arms out behind you.
  • Clasp your hands together and gently lift your arms.
  • You should feel the pressure in your shoulders ease off.
Another variation you can try:
  • Hold both arms above your head.
  • Link your hands with your palms facing upwards.
  • Reach as high as possible.
  • You should feel your shoulders stretching.

Pectoral stretch

Our local osteopath also advises you focus on your posture away from the desk, to help alleviate tension.
  • Grab a towel and roll it up.
  • On the floor, place the roll vertically along your spine, lay down and stretch your arms out either side.
This should create a stretch in your pectoral muscles on your chest.
"This puts the spine out of excessive flexion that you get from sitting hunched over a desk and allows you to open your chest muscles which get tight and shorten from holding your shoulders forward," he explains.
If all else fails, it's the perfect excuse for more back massages from your partner.