Happy, healthy employees are productive employees. So, in addition to humanitarian concerns, keeping them pain-free—especially their backs and finger joints, which are susceptible to office injuries—is in your best interest as a business owner or manager. With that said, here are some top exercises to protect your office employees from back pain and carpal tunnel.
The “Rocking” Fix for Low Back Pain
Sitting for extended periods of time—especially in uncomfortable chairs—can create painful tension in the lower back muscles. While long-term fixes might include standing desks or improved posture, a quick way to tackle low back pain is to, while seated, tilt your hips up and round your back, then tilt your hips back down again in repetitive motions.
This quick and easy seated exercise loosens the back muscles and effectively (although temporarily) reduces low back pain.
The Prayer Stretch for Wrist Pain
Carpal tunnel develops when repetitive motions of the hands—such as typing—causes undue pressure on the hands, fingers, and wrists. When your office workers get pain from carpal tunnel syndrome, have them perform what is called a “prayer stretch” or a “Buddha stretch.”
This action is performed by placing together the palms and fingers with hands out in front of the chest (as if praying) with the fingers pointed up. Maintaining this connection between the hands, with elbows pointed out, lower the hands down until it creates a stretch in the wrist.
Median Nerve Glide for Wrist Pain
The median nerve extends through the arms, but it primarily moves your forearms, wrists, hands, and fingers. Unfortunately, the nerve can get pinched, leading to pain and potentially to carpal tunnel. However, some gliding exercises can help.
To perform it, first form a fist with one hand, thumb outside the fist. Then, release the fingers and stretch them straight ahead. Carefully and slowly bend the hand back so that it stretches toward the forearm. Extend the thumb out to the side of the hand. Carefully, again, take the thumb with your opposite hand and stretch it downward toward the wrist. Switch hands to perform the exercise on the other hand.
Office Yoga for Whole Body Stretching
This one has scientific backing. In the study, office workers who participated in brief yoga sessions over eight weeks experienced reduced back pain as well as a number of other benefits, like improved concentration. It’s also a great community-building activity.
If you want to really invest in a solid program to prevent injuries among your employees (and improve the efficiency of your business operations at the same time), then you might want to consider onsite injury prevention services. They can teach or lead your employees in regular exercises and stretches that help prevent injuries among your workforce. They will specifically look at the regular activities your employees perform in the workplace and teach them exercises to target common injuries caused by those activities.
While sitting at a desk all day doesn’t seem to be strenuous, it can be hard on the body. Work these exercises and programs into your office workers’ routines to see noticeable improvements in their back pain and carpal tunnel.