One Good Thing: Five-Minute Desk Stretch — Low Back Lengthener

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Got five minutes? Then there’s something you can do to make your life feel a little bit better.

Each week, one of providers will offer One Good Thing – that is, one very simple thing you can do to improve your health or even just make your daily experience of life feel a little bit better. This month, osteopathic physician Carrie Bowler shares her favorite desk stretches geared toward staving off lower back pain.

Lower Back Lengthener
Benefit: This exercise will help create space in your lower back and will help reduce muscle fatigue that builds up with prolonged sitting.

First things first: Take a moment to notice if you are sitting in a chair that’s the right size for you. Ideally, when you slide your hips all the way back in the chair, you’ll be able to plant your feet firmly on the ground. Your shins and thighs will form a 90 degree angle and you’ll feel a comfortable amount of support in your lower back that allows you to extend your spine upwards without too much effort.

Once you’ve got the right chair for you, slide yourself all the way back in your seat and place both feet firmly on the floor. Hold onto the edges of the chair just behind your buttocks. Lean back into the back rest of the chair and push down into the chair to life your buttocks up a few inches. You should feel a nice sense of length in your back. Maintain this elongation and the contact of your back with the back rest for five to 10 seconds, then slowly lower your buttocks down again. You may notice that you feel taller in your seat. Repeat this three to five times.

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The One Medical blog is published by One Medical, an innovative primary care practice with offices in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington, DC.