7 Lower Back Stretches You Can Do at Work


Young female officer worker stretching her lower back while sitting at her desk.

If you’ve ever suffered a bad back, you’ll know how important it is to look after it. A sore back can make it difficult to sit, walk, drive, cook, exercise; it impacts almost every aspect of your life. But you can take steps to build a strong back keeping yourself free of debilitating back injuries. 

Many exercises and stretches for the lower back involve lying on the ground which isn’t ideal at work. Here are some basic stretches you can do seated or standing near your desk throughout the day then when you go home at night you can roll out the yoga mat and stretch out on the floor.    

#1 Spinal Rotation

While sitting on your chair, cross your arms over your chest and grab your shoulders. Rotate your body from the waist from side to side gently,  but as far as you can.       

#2 Back Extensions

Sitting on your chair with your feet on the floor, place your hands on the small of your back. Lean back over your hands until you feel your lower back stretch out. You can also do this exercise standing to lean back a little further. 

#3 Lateral Trunk Stretch

Raise one arm over your head and place your other hand on your thigh for support. Bend slowly towards the other side so you feel a comfortable stretch along the side of your trunk. Hold and repeat on each side. 

#4 Figure 4 Stretch

While sitting on your chair, cross one leg on top of the other so your ankle is on top of the opposite knee. Place your hand on your crossed knee and press gently until you feel a stretch in your hip and buttocks. Repeat 3-5 times before changing legs.  

#5 Back Stretch

Stand with your legs apart as wide as your hips. Place both hands on the desk vertically with your little fingers touching the desk. Bend forward at the waist until your torso is parallel to the floor. Keep your knees straight while you shift your weight to your heels. Take your right hand and place it on your left leg while you stretch and change arms. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat.  

#6 Arm Across Chest

Raise your left arm at shoulder height in front of you and bend your arm at the elbow. With your forearm parallel to the ground, grasp your left elbow with your right hand and gently pull it across your chest. Repeat with the other arm. You should feel a stretch in your upper arm, shoulder and slight stretch in your back

#7 Prayer Spine Stretch

Roll your chair out from your desk, so there is plenty of room in front of you. Start on your hands and knees with your arms out in front, lean forward keeping your head looking down. Lower your buttocks towards your feet and hold 10-30 seconds, performing 2-3 reps. 

Cause of Lower Back Pain and Tightness at Work

The biggest problem with office workers is they sit for too long. The human body is designed to move regularly, not sit at a desk for eight hours. Using a sit stand desk allows you to alternate between the sitting and standing position throughout the day which research shows is most beneficial for our bodies.    

Don’t Forget to do Your Stretches

It’s easy for the day to slip by and at 5pm realise you haven’t stretched or even spent much time away from your desk. If you’re having trouble remembering, find a trigger that will help. Perhaps every time you have a drink or get up from your desk, spend a minute or two stretching

Is Your Poor Posture to Blame?

Note your posture at different times of the day. Do you slouch in your chair or do you walk hunched over? The way we hold our body impacts the muscles, joints and bones that hold our spine in its correct place. Hunching over for long periods contributes to stiffness and weakness in your lower back

Don’t Leave Pain Untreated

When you have niggling tightness or pain, it’s easy to dismiss it because you don’t have time or it’s not that bad. But the problem with leaving it untreated, is it can compound until one day you find yourself unable to get out of bed because you have a severe injury. Back injuries can take a long time to heal and have a major impact on the quality of your life. 

See your GP or physio if you’re experiencing any lower back pain.  If you have any queries about office ergonomics, visit our Perth showroom, call us on (08) 9240 7066 or contact us online.