6 Easy Stretches To Reduce Pain From Your Office Job

If you work in an office, you're likely already familiar with the soreness and aches from sitting for long periods of time. In fact, over 70 percent of desk workers notice pain a few times a week while sitting at their desks. Many people also experience hand numbness, neck pain, headaches, and back spasms.

Our bodies are meant to move - they aren't meant to stay stationary for an eight hour day! So if you do spend most of your day at a desk, it is important to take short breaks throughout the day to get your body moving and help stretch out your muscles. These are a few of our favorite stretches that can be done at your desk or in your office.

Scapular Retraction

In a seated position, squeeze your shoulder blades together. Keep your shoulders pressed down and away from the ears and hold for 10 seconds.

Repeat 10 times, 3x a day.

Seated Rotation

While sitting, rotate your torso away from your legs, reaching to the opposite armrest, and gently pull yourself further into the twist. Hold for 10 seconds and return to starting position.

Repeat 2 times on both sides, 2x a day.

Split Stance Hip Flexor Stretch

Begin in a split stance with your hands on your hips. Keeping your back leg straight, bend your front knee directly over your toe until you feel a stretch in front of the back leg. Hold for 20 seconds.

Repeat 2 times on each side, 3x a day.


Begin standing with your feet hips distance apart, and your hands on your hips or reaching in front of you. Keeping your knees over your toes, squat down with your hips back as if sitting in a chair, then return to starting position.

Repeat 10 times, 3x a day.

Seated Hamstring Stretch

Begin seated on the edge of the chair, one knee bent and the other leg straight out in front of you. Keeping the front leg straight, maintain a flat back and hinge at your hips while you slowly bringing your torso towards the floor, until you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh, and hold for 20 seconds.

Repeat 2 times on each side, 3x a day.

Forward Leaning Spinal Stretch

Begin standing with your hands on the back of the chair, both feet facing one direction. Keeping knees straight, lean forward, bringing your feet back until you feel a stretch in your lower back. Hold for 20 seconds.

Repeat 2 times, 3x a day.

Is Your Desk Causing Pain or Reducing It?

Use this checklist to help make changes to your posture, and help determine if there are any other adjustments to prevent pain at work.

  • Is your computer screen free from any glare/reflection, and are you able to view your screen without squinting?

  • Is the monitor directly in front of you?

  • Is the top line of the screen at or slightly (0-30 degrees) below eye level?

  • Is the monitor approximately arm's length away from you?

  • If you are on the phone for extended times, do you use a headset?

  • Are you able to sit comfortably in your chair with both feet flat on the ground or on a footrest?

  • Do you take at least 5 minutes every hour to move?

  • Are your elbows and wrists supported in a neutral position to allow fingers to be relaxed when typing?

With more people returning to the office after working from home, it's even more important to focus on good posture while sitting at your desk and remembering to stand up and move each hour. If these stretches aren't easing the back, hip, and neck pain that you may experience at your office job, a physical therapist can help you to reduce pain and improve your posture. Performance Physical Therapy has many locations throughout Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts that will help you get #BetterFaster.

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