For those traveling over the summer or anyone working long hours at the office, maintaining spinal mobility and good posture is essential in maintaining a healthy back and warding off back pain. If getting up to move around is not an option, here are some simple and effective stretches to keep maintain your spinal mobility.
- Neck & Shoulder Rolls
Benefits: Stretches the neck joints; relieves tension in the neck, shoulders, and upper back
The Pose: Inhale, lengthen the spine and slowly lower the right ear to the right shoulder. Exhale, lowering the chin to the chest. Inhale, lifting the left ear to the left shoulder. Exhale, lowering the chin to the chest. Repeat five times Inhale, roll the shoulders forward and up to your ears. Exhale, rolling the shoulders back and towards the floor, allowing the shoulder blades to slide down the back. Repeat five times in both directions.
- Seated Cat and Cow
Benefits: Stretches the spine, relieves back tension
The Pose: Clasp the seat of the chair, palms down and fingers pointing towards the floor. Inhale, bring the chest forward and draw the shoulder blades together, taking a slight back bend in cow position. Exhale, bring the belly towards the back of the chair allowing the shoulders to fall forward into cat position. Repeat five times, concentrating on coordinating each movement with an inhale and an exhale.
- Chair Twists
Benefits: Stretches the spine, shoulders and hips; relieves lower back, and neck pain
The Pose: Inhale, lengthen the head towards the ceiling. Exhale, twist to the right side bringing the left hand to the outside of your right leg. Place the right hand on the left side of the upright seat back. Allow the head to follow the twist of the spine and allow the eyes to gaze beyond the chair back. Inhale, coming back to center and repeat on the other side.
- Seated Child’s Pose
Benefits: Stretches the spine.
The Pose: Inhale, lengthen the spine toward the ceiling. Exhale, fold forward placing the chest on the thighs. Allow the arms to drop to the floor. Breathe deeply and relax for 30 seconds. Inhale, engage the abs and raise the upper body to a sitting position.
- Airplane rides can be a bit tight and uncomfortable at times.
- If your legs are not positioned at a 90-degree, right angle when you sit in an airplane seat, ask for something (pillows, blankets) to prop up your feet and keep your knees at a right angle. Doing so keeps stress off the lower back.
- If you have long legs, request an exit row or bulkhead seat, which generally has more leg room.
- Get Up, Move & Stretch as much as possible
- Staying stationary for prolonged periods of time stresses the spine and can make back pain much worse.
See if there is room at the back of plane to do some quick stretching, which can provide more flexibility to the back and ease stiffness.