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Use Microbreak Exercises to Reduce Tension While Working

Before: the head is forward, arms rotated in, slouched spine.
After: the head is pulled backwards, thumbs rotated backwards, tall spine.

Do you sit in the same position for more than 30 minutes at work? If so, you probably experience mild or sometimes intense low back and neck pain. This tension is due to lack of movement throughout the workday. We are anatomically designed for motion; therefore, it is beneficial to intermittently perform microbreak exercises at work.

If possible, you should avoid sitting for longer than 20 to 30 minutes without standing or moving around the office. Sitting for much longer will fatigue the postural muscles, eventually resulting in spine pain.

Here are some simple microbreak exercises that will help prevent major low back or neck pain:

  • For the standing overhead arm reach, start off by standing with your feet shoulder width apart. Begin by comfortably raising your arms overhead. Then, while breathing in through your nose, reach your arms as high as you can (without pain) without breathing out. After holding your breath for several seconds, breathe out through your mouth and drop your arms to the starting position. This microbreak exercise can be done 2 to 3 times every 30 minutes if sitting at a desk for hours on end.
  • For the standing microbreak exercise, start by standing with your feet slightly turned out and barely farther apart than your hips. Make sure to slightly tuck your chin inward. Breathe in, through your nose and to your abdomen, with your hands resting comfortably on both sides. While exhaling slowly through your mouth, turn your palms outward with extended fingers and bring your chest toward your tucked chin. You can repeat this exercise 2 to 3 times every 20 to 30 minutes while sitting for an extended period of time.


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(901) 377-2340

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Dr. Jeffrey D. Luebbe, DC, CCRD, CCSP
Dr. W. Steven Vollmer, DC, DAAPM
Dr. Bradford J. Cole, DC, MS, CSCS
Dr. J. Colby Poston, DC
2845 Summer Oaks Dr., Memphis, TN 38134
(901) 377-2340

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