We’ve Got Your Back: How to Take Care of Your Spine
Did you know that working from home can have an impact on your spinal health? When your home doubles as your office, you may use your sofa as an office chair or your dining room table as a desk — neither of which was designed for eight hours of continuous daily use.
Whether you’ve been working from home for a few years or a few weeks, it’s important to know how to care for your spine to prevent back pain and improve overall health. Yes, your spine is that important. Simply put, your spine is the center of your nervous system. The spinal nerves carry electrical signals from your brain to your muscles and all your internal organs through the spinal cord. If your spine is misaligned or has a blockage, everything from your joints to your senses may be affected.
Fortunately, a simple stretching and strengthening routine may be an effective way to increase flexibility and ease back pain caused by turning your bedroom, dining room or kitchen into a workspace.
Try this series of stretches for a happier, healthier spine.
Tip: Warm up with a brisk five-minute walk or gently march in place.
- Begin on all fours with your knees under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders.
- Inhale as you pull your shoulder blades together and drop your stomach toward the floor.
- Exhale and draw your belly button toward your spine, tilt your chin down, and arch your back like an angry cat.
Repeat 10 to 20 times.
- Lie flat on your back with your head supported and your knees bent so that your ankles are directly beneath your knees.
- Draw your belly button toward your spine and lift your pelvis high enough to create a straight line from your knees to your hips. Keep your chin away from your chest.
- Lengthen your tailbone toward the backs of your knees and firm your buttocks (without hardening).
- Hold for 10 seconds, taking long breaths. Do not move your head left or right.
- Lower down slowly.
Repeat 10 times.
Half Kneel/Hip Stretch
- Begin in a half-kneel position, with your knees directly under your hips (pad knees as needed).
- Draw your left knee up, putting your left foot flat on the ground.
- Bring your right hand to your left thigh or rest it at your side.
- Gently press your pelvis forward and lean back slightly.
Take long, deep breaths and hold the pose for at least five seconds. You should feel the stretch in the front of your right hip and thigh. Repeat with your other leg and alternate five times each side.
Piriformis (Pigeon) Stretch
- Lie on your back and bring your legs into a tabletop position, with your knees over your hips and your ankles in line with your knees.
- Bring your right ankle to the top of your left thigh and flex your right foot. Your legs should look like the number four.
- Lace your hands behind your left thigh and draw your thigh toward your chest. Lengthen your tailbone toward the floor. You can gently press your right knee away from you to deepen the stretch.
Take long, deep breaths throughout the pose. You should feel the stretch in your buttocks. Hold each side for 30 seconds. Repeat two times on each side.
Hamstring/Lower Back Stretch
Option: Grab a towel or soft belt to assist with the pose
- Lie flat on your back with your legs extended and the soles of both feet pressing firmly into a wall.
- Bring up your left leg so your ankle is over your hip. Keep your right leg extended on the floor with your foot pressed against the wall.
- If using a belt or towel a, bring it across the arch of your left foot, holding it with your hands shoulder-width apart, elbows slightly bent.
- Lengthen through your left leg, drawing your heel toward the ceiling and your toes toward your nose.
- Keep your back and shoulders on the floor and your hips parallel to the ceiling. Left unchecked, one hip may slant toward your rib cage.
If not using a belt or towel, extend your arms along your side, palms facing up. Engage your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine while pressing your foot against the wall.
Take long, deep breaths throughout the pose. Hold each leg stretch for 60 seconds.
- Lie face up with your arms extended toward the ceiling, directly over your shoulders.
- Bring your legs into a tabletop position with your knees over your hips and ankles in line with your knees.
- Keep your shoulders down, flex your feet and engage your core, drawing your back to the floor.
- Extend your right arm and left leg away from you, reaching in opposite directions.
- Tap your left heel to floor, and return your leg and arm to the starting position.
- Immediately repeat on the opposite side.
Take long, deep breaths throughout the pose. Alternate sides for 10 reps total (five per side).
Add this healthy back session into your routine for a few weeks and see how you feel. We encourage you to try it with some relaxing music and smile while you gently move and care for your spine. You could even ask your spouse or kids to join you or connect with a friend virtually!
Please talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
We are here to help you keep moving and stay healthy. If you have questions or would like to schedule a telephone consultation with one of Health Plan of Nevada’s certified educators or registered dietitians, please call Health Education and Wellness at
702-877-5356 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time.