Video: Quick Back Stretches for the Busy Worker

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Back and neck pain, stiffness, muscle cramping and leg cramps are very common for someone who has to sit at desk for a whole work day. Even more so for the skilled worker who has to stand, lift and carry heavy items or doing work with arms raised overhead for hours.

The worst effects of the day's work is very common at the end of the day. We come home tired, spent, stiff and for some, in pain. The thing is, we have to get up again the next day and do the same thing for the rest of the week.

I created this video to share it with the busy worker as a preventative routine and likely back pain sufferers who still have to tackle a day's work.

Here's the video:

Quick & Simple Back Stretches for the Busy Worker

This repetitive stress to the back and spine in general can be enough cause for more major problems. Very common among these problems are bulging discs, disc herniations, spinal stenosis which can manifest as a sharp pain, tingling or numbness going down the leg. If left unchecked, this can prevent you from doing the simplest tasks as getting out of bed, getting in and out of a chair or car and it can even prevent you from being able to walk!

Take 38 year old Bill for example (not his real name). He has worked at Publix for years and has always been a good employee. He works at the deli and shared that he had to do a lot of lifting, pushing, pulling meats, equipment, boxes and packages all day.

One day he made a quick lifting attempt with a heavy box over 70 pounds and when he turned, he felt a sharp pain on his low back going down his leg. He was not able to work for days. Over the counter medications did not help.

He was referred to me for Physical Therapy treatment by his doctor. His pain was so severe that he could hardly walk and he was unable to drive. He came to me huffing and puffing from the limping, dragging his right leg and tearful.

It was heartbreaking to see a young man weeping like a child because his main concern was to be able to return to work. He added that he did not want to lose his job at Publix. He had good benefits and has been there for years. He was informed that if he cannot handle the tasks required of his job, his work hours will be decreased.

This is just a scenario of what can happen when severe back pain can be debilitating. Lucky for Bill, he was so determined to deal with his pain that he religiously did all his exercises and self care routines.The stronger his core got, the more he was able to to tolerate and continue to do his tasks at his work place.

It is admirable to watch his progress and determination. He worked through his pain, went to work, and did his exercise routine after work and applied cold packs or heat packs as he was instructed. It was a long journey for him but he refused to go through back surgery. 

The best I could do was provide treatment, educate him on strategies for him to be his own physical therapist. I always tell my patients this that they are with themselves 24/7. They have a great chance of being able to address their back problems at home and at work. Come to think of it, they only see their physical therapist two to three times a week for an hour or so. What they do at home and at work is what will make a difference to their progress.

Yes, they do say that they need the "magic hands" which seem to put their backs in place (haha!). But still, being able to carryover the care at home can make a world of difference.

Just last Friday, I saw Bill again. I now see him only once a week for maintenance treatments. He was so proud to inform me that he just got awarded the Employee of the Month recognition at his Publix branch. Just like a mother hen, I felt so proud of what he has achieved despite his physical adversity. 

This just proves that in the midst of physical challenges, it is possible to surmount this hurdle if we also advocate for our own health. 

Taking time to educate my patients and teaching them simple body mechanics and movement strategies is a must for me. There are things they can do at work and at home to better deal with the day's physical challenges. 

The video above is the simple routine I shared with Bill to help him through his ordeal. 

It is simple and easy to sneak into your work schedule to relieve the stress of sitting or standing for a long time.

Hope this helps!

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