Stiffness

images-14It is not uncommon to experience pain or stiffness from long periods of sitting and doing computer work. The exercises below are meant to help you bring some movement into places that can be strained throughout the day. These can even be done while sitting at your computer.

  • How to Sit Straight
  • Breathing and Stress Relief
  • Finger Stretch

How to sit straight:

This exercise will help you find your proper posture by teaching you to focus on your sitting bones.

  1. Start by sitting on a flat chair or stool, feet flat on the floor, knees bent 90 degrees.  If you are tall, you might need a higher chair or a pillow.  Some people with back pain feel best on a wedge-shaped pillow (higher part of the pillow towards the back).
  2. Now you are going to sit on your hands for a few moments. Place your hands under your sit-bones with palms up and the tips of your middle fingers touching each other.  When you sit on your palms you can feel your sit-bones resting on your fingers.  The sit-bones are shaped like two wheels of a cart, and you can roll over them forward and backward.
  3. Feel the contact of your hands touching your sit-bones for a few breaths.
  4. Take one hand out, take another breath, and then take the other hand out.  Feel the contact of your sit bones on the chair/stool.  Through these points of contact the weight of your body (through gravity) gets transmitted into the chair, the floor and, ultimately, towards the center of our planet.
  5. Slowly roll forward and backward over your sit-bones until you find the position where you feel the most ease (least effort) in maintaining an upright posture.
  6. Place one hand on your abdomen near or slightly below your belly button (navel) and the other behind your back at about the same height.  Do your hands feel any breath movement at the belly or the back?
  7. Very gently move forward and/or backward on your sit-bones to find the position where your hands can feel breath movements in the front and the back. You should feel expansion with inhalation and contraction with exhalation.
  8. Stay there for a few breaths and feel ‘the force’ that your breathing brings.

This exercise is recommended by Wolf Mehling, MD.


Breathing and Stress Relief:

This simple exercise is very helpful for releasing tension accumulated during the work day.

  1. Take a deep breath and exhale as if you are blowing out birthday candles
  2. Inhale and raise your shoulders up
  3. Inhale a little more and raise your shoulders up to your ears
  4. Exhale deeply and slowly and let your shoulders drop
  5. Let the exhalation be twice as long as the inhalation
  6. Now rotate your shoulders a few times
  7. Repeat this series several times

This exercise is recommended by Marcia Degelman, CMT.


Finger Stretch:

This exercise is particularly helpful for people who spend long periods of time using their hands in repeated motion, such as typing, writing or cooking/ chopping.

  1. Grab each finger stretch it back towards the wrist on an exhale.
  2. Make a fist with one hand and bend it down towards the ground, as you use the other hand to press into the forearm, from the elbow to the wrist.
  3. Make a fist on the inhale and stretch the fingers out like a web on the exhale.
  4. Shake the arms out.
  5. Repeat this series.

This exercise is recommended by Marcia Degelman, CMT.

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