The Desk Job Employee’s Guide To Back Decompression




Jan. 17 2024, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

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You may not realize your desk job can tremendously impact your health until your back starts feeling sore, stiff and achy after long hours of sitting in front of your computer.

Prolonged sitting can significantly cause increased stress on the back, arms and legs. If you experience this, you’re not alone. Explore why you experience pain and the exercises you can do to eliminate it.

Common Causes Of Back Pain

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There are sneaky reasons behind your back discomfort. Here’s what’s causing it:

1. Sitting Too Much

Human bodies aren’t designed for prolonged sitting. You probably know you need to take breaks occasionally, but let’s face it — work can be busy and you might pass on these short pauses. This can lead to bad posture, which weakens the core, hips and back.

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2. Lack Of Physical Activity

Moving your body is essential for your back and overall health. Even if you’re using an ergonomic chair, doing stretches and exercises can help curb discomfort. When asked to take breaks every half hour throughout the day, overweight office workers displayed a 32% decrease in lower back pain compared to seated work.

3. Poor Posture

One of the biggest culprits of back pain is incorrect sitting position. You might unconsciously start hunching over your computer if you’re situated in your chair for long hours. Perhaps you end up at a 45-degree angle after an hour, ready to slide off your seat.

Good sitting posture involves having your elbows close to your body and bent between 90 to 120 degrees, keeping your back straight with lumbar support, relaxing your shoulders and sitting in a padded seat.

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4 Exercises For Back Decompression

The following exercises can help build your back muscles’ strength, stability and flexibility. Strive to allow at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity weekly to reap the most benefits. 

1. Happy Baby

This common yoga and Pilates stretch helps increase stretching and relaxation for the whole body. 

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– Lie on your back as flat as possible on a yoga mat.

– Engage your core, then pull your knees toward your shoulders at a 90-degree angle, with the soles of your feet facing up.

– Grab and hold the inside or outside of your feet.

– Bring your knees closer to the floor next to your armpits.

– Squeeze your hip flexors and rock from side to side.

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2. Cat-Cow

The cat-cow stretching helps eliminate tension and boost flexibility, encouraging spinal alignment.


– Begin with your hands and knees on the ground. Distribute your weight evenly across all four points.

– Inhale and arch your spine for the cow pose. Draw your chin into your chest and gaze toward the ceiling without stressing your neck.

– Exhale and round your spine for the cat pose. Drop your head and bring your navel toward your spine.

– Continue for five to 10 breaths, then return to a neutral spine position.

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3. Puppy Pose

This exercise helps stretch the shoulders, spine, upper back and arms — all prone to aching after prolonged sitting. 


– Come onto all fours.

– Tilt your butt up and walk your palms forward, bringing your chest onto the mat.

– Lift your hips toward the ceiling, bending your back and opening up the chest.

– Hold for a few breaths before returning to a neutral position.

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4. Side Lying Decompression

This exercise is beneficial if you suffer from lower back pain. Ensure you do it on both sides for maximum results.


– Lie on your side on the bed or couch, then bend your knees and heels together.

– Drop your shins off the edge toward the floor. You should feel a stretch in your lower back.

– Hold this position for 30 seconds. Take a 30-second break, then repeat on the other side.

– Complete the exercise for 15 to 30 minutes.

Say Hello To A Pain-Free Work Day

Do these exercises and bid goodbye to your back’s aches and pains. Remember to take short breaks and do light stretching, no matter how busy you get at work. Your back will surely thank you.

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By: Mia Barnes

Mia Barnes is a health journalist with over 3+ years of experience specializing in workplace wellness. Mia believes knowledge is power. As the Editor-in-Chief of Body+Mind Magazine, Mia's goal is to cover relevant topics to empower women through information.

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