Mobility for Desk Dwellers


A lot of clients come to us and complain of back pain, typically lower back. One of the first questions we ask them is, “how long do you spend each day sitting at a desk?” Many of them spend a decent amount of time behind a desk and most admit to having poor posture while they are sitting.  This is unfortunately the case for many adults.

Aside from bad posture being a “bad habit,” muscle tightness and muscle weakness can also play a role in bad posture. This can lead to pain, especially in the back.  Simple walking around, simple stretches, low impact exercises, and awareness of your body can help improve posture for those who find themselves sitting at a desk most of the day.

Taking the time to stand up and walk around for just 2 minutes every hour can do wonders for desk dwellers.  Many smartwatches have the ability to send you an alert every hour to move but you can also set an alarm on your phone every hour to remind yourself to take a quick walk around the office. When you take that stroll it is important to focus on your posture; keep your shoulder rolled down and back, make sure the your chest does not pitch forward and you keep your eyes facing forward, not down.

Along with walking, stretching can help alleviate back pain as well as improve posture. There are several stretches that you can do right in your office; below are videos of a reverse arch stretch (this can be done in an office chair) and a pectoral door stretch.  Stretches that focus on the muscle in your Thoracic region are helpful in improving posture and alleviating back pain.


Reverse Arch Stretch

Sit at the edge of the chair; interlace fingers behind back, arch back and pull hands towards the seat of the chair. Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat stretch 3 times.


Pectoral Door Stretch

Press palm into door frame; leave palm, walk forward and hold the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds each arm and repeat exercise 2 times.


Low impact exercises that help to strengthen the muscles that help move the scapula, such as the rhomboids can help improve strength in order to be able to keep the shoulders in proper alignment.  One exercise that can be done just about anywhere is the Prone Y,T,W.


Prone YTW

Lay on stomach; keep head, neck and upper back relaxed, make a “y” position with arms with thumbs up, lift only the arms, repeat in a “t” position and a “w” position. Complete 10 reps in each position; complete all 10 reps before changing positions, repeat exercise 2 times.


When your job demands you to be sitting at a desk, it is important to make a conscious effort to move around and not let your body sink into bad habits. Be aware of your body and listen to your body. Back pain is just one way of your body telling you it’s not getting something it needs; be it more movement, more mobility or more strength.  Be kind to your body and it will return the favor.

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