When you're concentrating on work, it can be very easy to fall into bad posture habits - especially if you spend most of the working day sitting at a desk. Sitting still for long periods of time can be quite bad for your body to begin with, but when you're sitting in a position that is putting pressure on certain parts of your musculoskeletal system, the effect is compounded, with potentially dire results.

A desk job can be particularly hazardous to your health if you already suffer from scoliosis (a sideways curvature of the spine) or hyper-kyphosis (an excessive forward curve in the spine). Poor desk posture can exacerbate back pain, a common symptom of scoliosis, and may even contribute to the continued progression of one's existing spinal curve.

Therapeutic stretches to try at work

Whether you suffer from a spinal condition or not, you can perform the following stretches while seated at your desk in order to stave off the potential health consequences of bad posture:

Thoracic Extension at Desk

Stretch #1: Thoracic Extension at a Desk

  1. Sit forwards in your seat with your knees bent to 90 degrees and your feet flat on the floor.

  2. Place the palms of your hands and your mid-forearms underneath your desk, with elbows bent to 90 degrees.

  3. Apply gentle pressure in an upwards direction with your hands and mid-forearms, while simultaneously extending your upper back and allowing your pelvis to rock forwards.

  4. Ensure that your chin is tucked in as your neck elongates upwards.

  5. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, then repeat 3 times for one set.

  6. Complete this stretch again after 30 minutes of sitting.

Levator Scapulae Stretch

Stretch #2: Levator Scapulae Stretch

  1. Sit comfortably in your chair with your knees bent to 90 degrees and your feet firmly on the floor.

  2. Place one hand behind your lower back to ensure a correct lumbar lordosis.

  3. With your head, look over to the right side and diagonally downwards towards your armpit.

  4. Place your right hand onto the occiput (the bony part of the base of your skull).

  5. Use the weight of your arm to stretch the neck in a downward and diagonal direction.

  6. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, then repeat 3 times for one set.

  7. Swap sides and repeat.

  8. Complete this stretch again after 30 minutes of sitting.

Sitting Piriformis Stretch

Stretch #3: Sitting Piriformis Stretch

  1. Sit comfortably in your chair with your knees bent to 90 degrees and your feet firmly on the floor.

  2. With one leg at a time, place your ankle across your opposite knee, as though you are crossing your legs individually.

  3. Ensure that you maintain a small lumbar lordosis with a contracted core to optimise the position of your pelvis and lumbar spine.

  4. Push down gently on the crossed leg's knee to stretch the piriformis muscle (located on the outside of the gluteal region).

  5. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times for one set.

  6. Swap sides and repeat.

  7. Complete this stretch again after 30 minutes of sitting.
If you suffer from scoliosis, or another spinal condition, and you are looking for an effective non-surgical treatment route, please contact Scoliosis SOS today to learn about our ScolioGold therapy courses.
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