Glutes and Hamstrings Easy Stretching while Sitting

Being an office worker can be a REAL hazard to how your muscles naturally align, how strong they are, and in too many cases how SHORT they can become!! We tend to think of upper body strains e.g. that tight NECK and SHOULDERS but we need to address your lower body as well. This is especially true if you’re sitting for long hours and to be fair who isn’t RIGHT?? What happens is that your hip flexors tend to shorten, this in turn creates tightness of your quadriceps, and to make matters WORSE this causes your hamstrings to pull up feeling stiff and short. We now have tight and shortened hamstrings that have close links to weakened buttocks and tight deep hip rotators. The remedy is to take the time to stretch your upper body which is our necks, shoulders, and chest, AND include stretches to your lower body - butt, hamstrings, quads, and calves. So, when you’re waiting for those files to download or just taking a well-earned break, you can apply these two stretches in an easy seated position. I mean what could be EASIER!! Stretch number ONE is for your buttocks or gluteus. But let us first have a little background about this muscle group. The gluteal muscle group is composed of three muscles-- gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. This team of muscles creates the shape of your buttocks and work together when you sit to stand and walk, run, sidestep, the list goes on. The gluteus maximus is one of the strongest muscles in our body and is mainly responsible for the backward movement of the thighs and legs, aided by the two remaining gluteus muscles. Let’s unpack the damage long periods of sitting does - your gluteus minimus tends to weaken and some people complain of the feeling of a “numb-bum”. This can be caused by restriction to the blood supply to the muscle or it can be that the shortened muscles impact some of our nerves. The sciatic nerve is deep in the gluteal group but we will talk about that in a separate article.  Stretching the buttocks region (as shown in this small video) is one way to alleviate this feeling of pain or numbness. To do this while sitting down, first, you need to swing one leg over the other in a crossed position, while making sure that you are not crouching forward. The KEY is that your back STRAIGHT sits as tall as you can and just bend forward from the hips. What you are actually feeling is a stretch in your glutes and not a curve in your back. Again, most people get this stretch wrong by doing a curved crouching position. You need to keep in mind that you're doing this stretch for your buttocks and NOT for your BACK. This is a good glute stretch and tries to stay there for about 20 seconds, repeat for the other leg to definitely reap its benefits. Now, after the glute stretch, we want to do the hamstring stretch. Again, let me tell you about the hamstring muscles. Hamstring muscles are located in the posterior compartment of our things. This muscle group consists of three muscles: biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus. These muscles help in movements of the knee, hip, and legs while running, walking, bending your knees, and squatting. So the most common injuries in the hamstring muscles come from a sports injury. While this holds true, sitting for long periods of hours can make your hamstrings tight so it's best to stretch those muscles to avoid tightness. We stretch the hamstrings in the seated position too! All you need to do is to move a little further forward on your chair. Straighten out one leg but don’t LOCK the knee, we want to focus on the muscles and NOT the nerves in this manoeuver. Now just lean forward as far as you can. Again, you need to make sure that your back is straight and not curved so that the focus of the stretch is not on your back but on your hamstring muscles. Your ankles can be more relaxed here too so you can focus on your hamstrings and NOT the calves. Yep, that will be in another article for you to focus on! You can do this stretch for about 15 to 20 seconds for each leg. Both glute and hamstring stretches are easy to do and can be managed into your workday without disruption. Work time, break time – really anytime within your day. I hope you find these stretches useful. Try to apply them especially if you suffer from lower back pain and watch out for my next article in my journey to keep you balanced, stable, pain free and self-managed in work, rest or play. [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Major Problem that Wrecks Your Lower Back

The Major Problem About Having Lower Back Pain. Have you ever wondered why your body feels older and achier than you’d like? Recurring lower back pain? Neck pain, headaches or migraines? You think about the things that you have been doing recently and realize that you’re not really doing anything particularly wrong. You’ve been stretching at your desk in the office, getting up from the chair and moving around if sitting for too long in front of the computer but you just don’t know why you feel like you do. But you know what!

The "Secret Culprit"

There is a “secret” culprit that can be responsible for a majority of the pain your experiencing in your pelvis and all the way to your spine and neck. Want to know what it is? It’s actually your wallet or iPhone that you put on your back pocket while sitting in your car or just sitting all day in front of your computer.

Don't Get Surprised!

Surprised? Well, a lot of people are SHOCKED when I tell them that this little culprit continuously in your back pocket can be the main reason why you’re having so many pain issues, especially your lower back. A lot of people don’t realize the damage caused by consistently sitting on your phone or wallet for lengthy periods of time. Especially when it’s full of credit cards, ID’s, coupons, and receipts that you don’t even need. Imagine doing this every single day! You’re unknowingly causing yourself back and neck pain because the wallet causes you to elevate one part of your hip, distort your posture, and put continuous pressure on your spine, causing misalignment. Try this now, put your wallet, purse or phone in your pocket and sit down, one hip is now elevated and your hip or sacro-iliac joint is higher than what it ought to be. You have created a scoliotic curve in your lower or lumbar spine. This scoliotic curve is the start of small changes all the way up through your spine. I see clients presenting to my clinic complaining of pain in the lower back pain, pelvic pain, and spinal pain anywhere along the mid back all the way to the shoulders and the neck. Not only that but migraines and headaches too. We treat to balance the muscles that have been tightened, shortened, lengthened and stressed in my clinic and your homecare plan is take that NASTY object out of your back pocket when sitting. Again, that major problem about having lower back pain strikes!

Important Note

*If you're long driving and sitting with a bag under one of your hips, especially in the case of cab drivers and those who do regional driving as well, you’ll realize that one of your legs is sitting longer (or shorter) when driving. Having overstuffed purse or wallet can put pressure on you piriformis muscle that seriously affects your sciatic nerve, causing you to have sciatica-- a pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve and into the buttocks, hips, and the lower back all the way down to each leg. So always be mindful of the way you're sitting in the office or in your car.

So the answer to that Major Problem About Having Lower Back Pain...

Make sure that you create the HABIT of removing things from your back pocket before you sit down, the outcome is even and balanced pelvis. You’ll definitely see and feel the difference of having to sit without anything on your hips. Let’s reduce the incidence of back and neck pain, migraines or headaches, and even scoliotic spine because of that single culprit: your stuffed wallet. There you have it! I hope you learned about the great tips I shared with you so you can avoid having a lot of pain issues on your hip, back, and neck.  

Muscle Energy Technique for Neck Pain by Therapists

Whenever we spend LONG hours at work in front of our computers, we tend to strain our necks. Depending on the position and how long we keep our neck in that same position will determine where your neck will feel worse. In this article, we will talk more about Muscle Energy Technique your therapist does for you. Imagine you’re sitting down all day with your head in a forward position straining your eyes as you peer at the screen. This will not only strain your eyes but would also tighten your neck muscles and any sudden movement can definitely trigger strain which can both hurt and affect your neck. This is almost related to the previous article I shared with you about stretching your muscles to help ease the pain in your neck and back as well as in your hands and arms, but this time, we’ll focus on the neck area and how you can do the simple neck stretching and exercises to make sure that you prevent misaligning and straining your neck while working from home. There are a lot of exercises that you can do at home for your neck. Depending on what exercise you do, with proper procedures and movements, you would be able to loosen those tight neck muscles and improve your neck position and posture. And there are just simple exercises that you can do within a few minutes during your break or before you get back to working on your computer again.  Watch the video. For this purpose, I’m going to share with you ‘one of the BEST’ options and that is using muscle energy techniques!! These are easy ways to self treat to relieve neck pain, balance straining neck muscles, and improve your neck position.

More about Muscle Energy Technique

So what do I mean by Muscle Energy Technique your therapist does for you? Muscle Energy Techniques (METs) are used by physical therapists, manual therapists, athletic trainers, chiropractors, massage therapists, and even osteopathic physicians for the purpose of improving the state of musculoskeletal functions or even joint functions of the body to improve posture, loosen muscle and joint tension as well as relieve pain. MET's work by carefully positioning a specific area in our body and resisting movement or contracting your muscles followed by stretching your muscles to loosen and lengthen your target or opposite muscle group. This technique is usually applied to your body by licensed professionals, therapists, physicians, and should not be practiced at home without consulting your therapist or physician. However, there are a few simple exercises from METs that you can actually try and do in the comfort of your home while working and sitting in your home office.

How to align and loosen your neck muscles

Here are the steps that you should do to align and loosen up your neck muscles.
  1. While sitting down, drop your head and tuck your chin close to your chest. 
  2. Placing your hands on the back of your head to add a gentle weight will give traction to the back of the neck. 
  3. Hold your head down in place with your hands while inhaling for the count of 10. (What’s actually happening at this moment is that you’re contracting the muscles in your neck.) Remove your hand and slowly relax and breathe out.
  4. Take the pressure off after those 10 counts and bring it back to upright for 2-3 inhalations. 
  5. Repeat this process 2 more times and take the opportunity to really enjoy the feeling of muscle contraction in your neck as you press into your hands and the sensation of relaxation as it slowly loosens up. 
  6. Doing this will help stretch those irritated neck muscles as a muscle in an isometric contraction usually lengthens once OFFLOAD. This one works well with your trapezius and your mid-back. 
This gentle yet simple application of a neck MET is one that you can definitely do without the supervision of your physical therapist. You can do these every day before working or even while you're working or taking your break. BUT if you do have a pre-existing injury, disc bulge issues, nerve pain, or unstable/recent bony fracture then make sure you get the TICK of approval from your clinician of choice. Well, that’s just about it. I hope you learned a lot and enjoyed our topic for today. Let me know what you think in the comments below. 

Neck Pain at Work? Try This Easy Chest Stretching!

In today's blog post, we will talk more about stretching the chest in the office to help relieve neck pain.    With our STRANGE new WORLD, I have to ask these questions to my patients so often now… Are you working from home?  Always in front of your computer for hours and hours each day? When we’re NOT at our regular work station with the ergonomic chairs and desks we seem to experience back and neck pain much more commonly. If that sounds like you then it’s a sign that you need to do something about it! Find strategies to help ease that pain. One of the most effective and easy ways to do that is to stretch the muscles in question. Well, at least it will help until you get to your therapist for their treatment skills! But before we dive into that, let me first talk about why stretching your muscles is important.

Let's begin knowing about Stretching the Chest in the Office to Help with Neck Pain...

This encourages the muscle’s ability to stretch (increased elasticity) it also allows for a better resting tone for your muscles. That means they can feel softer when you’re not doing anything.  Feel them now for me – grip your upper trapezius (neck/shoulder muscles), do they feel tight when you squeeze them? That can indicate poor resting tone, yet another indicator that they could do with a stretch. (Stretching the Chest in the Office to Help with Neck Pain) With this in mind, we need to make sure that we regularly stretch those muscles to keep them strong, flexible, and healthy even when you’re just sitting around all day or have that cardio workout in your focus. Without stretching your muscles first, they would be short, less elastic, and tight. And when you make sudden, unmeasurable movements or do immediate heavy physical exercises, those activities can increase the chance of muscle strains and tears. This is why athletes and people who would do physical exercises go through full ranges of movement to warm the muscles and joints before workouts and take the time to stretch after their activities. They are trying to avoid injuries. 

So below are some of the benefits of stretching in our body:

  • Improve posture
  • Decrease back pain
  • Improve and prevent loss of range in motion
  • Prevent injury
  • Alleviate muscle tightness and tension
  • Decrease muscle soreness
  • Improve blood circulation
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More on Stretc

hing the Chest in the Office to Help with Neck Pain...

Stretching also makes you feel good because this taps your parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for the rest and digest system in our body. This system helps slow our heart rates, improves the motility of the gastrointestinal tract, and increases the production of the “good” hormones that repair the body. Pretty amazing, right?  So before you LAUNCH down in front of your computer or perhaps even now while you're sitting and reading this article, why not make the decision and stretch those tired and exhausted tight muscles. It literally takes only a few minutes; come on - I invite you to stretch and follow the steps that I’m gonna share with you on the video link or read and follow below! For this purpose, we’re going to focus only on stretching your chest muscles to alleviate your neck and back pain. Chapmans Reflexes Perth Course

So here are the steps you need to do to keep your neck and back healthy and free of pain.

  1. When you’re in front of your computer, place your hand palm on the side of your computer screen, twist your whole body to the side and place your other arm on the top of your chair. You would feel the tension in your chest muscle at this moment. Then finally turn your neck to the side away from your computer to stretch your neck and back.
  2. Repeat the first step but this time instead of the palm, use the back of your hand and do the same. At this moment you not only feel the tension in your chest muscle, neck, and back but also in your arms. This is perfect if you have been typing on your keyboard all day and your arms and hands are just sore.
  3. Use your other hand and repeat steps 1 and 2. 
After these steps, you would feel that your chest muscles, arms, neck, and back have been stretched and loosen a bit of tension that has grown over you while continuously working in front of your computer for hours. For better results and relief for your neck and back pain, do these steps once or twice daily.  That’s it for this article. I hope this helps give you RELEVANT tips to feel better and healthier while working from home.
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