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5 desk stretches to combat back and neck pain

December 17, 2021 tiffaniewoods

5 desk stretches to combat back and neck pain

December 17, 2021 Tiffanie Woods
Happy girl sitting at desk with computer and stretching. Smiling woman employee or clerk at workplace in home. End of working day, task completion. Flat cartoon colorful vector illustration

Dealing with muscle pain, especially pain that’s worsened by repetitive daily tasks like sitting in front of a computer, using a smartphone and having regular video calls, can be tough. That’s why breaking up our days with stretches that we can do at our desks is beneficial not only physically but mentally and emotionally. Try incorporating one or all of these stretches into your day to relieve your back and neck pain.

Neck Rotations

This is a simple stretch that you can do sitting or standing at your desk. Keep your head and back up right, and then gently turn your head to each side. You will be able to feel the muscles on the outside of your neck and middle back gradually stretching.

For a deeper stretch: Use your hand to slowly turn your head past your shoulder.

Chin to Chest Stretch

While sitting up straight, lower your head and chin to your chest. You will immediately feel a release in your neck and upper back. For more of a stretch, use both hands to gently push your head closer to your chest.

For a deeper stretch: Roll your back to lower your chin whilst using both hands to push your head lower. This stretch will be uncomfortable if you’ve never done it before so use short increments of five seconds starting out, gradually increasing the time as your back stretches out.

Shoulder Stretch

While sitting at your desk, hold one arm across your body. Simultaneously pull your shoulder into your chest where you should feel your shoulder stretching.

For a deeper stretch:  Move your hand along your arm from your elbow down towards your hand. As you move away from your elbow you should feel a deeper stretch in your shoulder and upper back.

Figure 4 Stretch

While sitting, lift one foot and put it on top of the opposite knee in a figure 4 position. Whilst keeping your back straight, slowly lean forward.

Toe Touch Stretch

This should be familiar and one of the easier stretches you can start with for relieving both upper and lower back pain. Standing at your desk, slowly bend forward as far as you can, arms stretching towards the ground and your toes. This is a stretch that, depending on how tight your muscles are, may need to be done in increments. Start with five=second increments lowering to the floor and then slowly coming back up. As your feel your back start to loosen and stretch out, extend the increments longer until you’re able to touch your toes.

For a deeper stretch: If you’re able to touch your toes, slowly walk your hands backwards, letting your hands curl. Again, take precautions to do this in increments and make sure you’ve had water and something to eat during the day as bending down quickly or for long periods of time can make you feel lightheaded.

Tiffanie Woods

Tiffanie Woods is a writer and social media strategist. When she’s not curating the perfect playlist, she can be found talking about her affinity for skincare and hanging with her tabby cat Poppy. Connect with Tiffanie on Twitter @tiffromthe6 and read more of her work at

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