The Office Worker: Stretches & Self-Massage Tips  

Male Therapist Doing Massage

Taking Care of Yourself At Work Is Important

Not only is it important to regularly correct your posture at work but it is also important to incorporate stretches and self-massage. This goes for all working environments, from office jobs, to trades work, and even highly active jobs. In this blog series you will find a list of some very useful stretches and massage techniques specifically beneficial for each job type. 

The Office Worker

Sitting at your desk all day is actually hard work for your muscles. Imagine holding your arms above your head for hours, you would be utterly exhausted. This is an exaggeration of what your upper traps and back muscles are doing when you slump at your desk, they are fighting gravity to keep you upright.  

When you don’t move for hours, these muscles start to fatigue and form bunched muscle fibres called trigger points. Which, in this case, occur when microtrauma, stress or fatigue affects the muscle tissue. These trigger points in the upper traps and back are hyper irritable and often cause referral pain to the neck, shoulders and head.  

Trigger Point Therapy can release these bunched muscle fibres, however if habits are not remedied then they are likely to reoccur. Here are a few stretches to help remedy habits. Remember to stretch to wherever is comfortable for you. 

Pec Stretch

This is very simple stretch and something almost any work space can facilitate.  

Place both forearms on the frame of a doorway, bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle, ensure your elbows are shoulder height and then lean through the door until you feel an opening through the chest and a stretch through your pecs. 

Glute Stretch

This is very simple and easy to do seated.  

Take one leg across your body, bend the knee to a 90-degree angle and place the ankle over your other knee. Push the chair out slightly, hold the desk and lean over your legs until you feel a stretch. 

Neck & Shoulder Stretch

It is good to incorporate some movement into these stretches.  

Start with shoulder rolls, do 5-10 reps rolling forward and then the same backwards.  

To stretch the neck, move your head slowly in all directions: 

  • Turn your head side to side; 
  • Bend your neck left to right; 
  • Look up and look down; 
  • Do 360-degree circles with your head 

Self-massage is also something that many people do not think about but is a very useful tip that massage therapists use regularly. Below are 3 targeted areas that are commonly tight and sore. 

Back of the Head & Neck

Right up into the highest part of your neck and the lowest part of your head is a very common place for people to feel soreness or even experience headaches.  

Tilt your head back and use the tips of your fingers to massage small circles across the sore spots. If you find a particular sore spot that has a referral pain stay on that area and hold until the pain dissipates.  

Upper Traps

Take your opposite hand across your body to reach the upper traps, grab the muscle in a “pincer grip” and knead the muscle. Again, if you find a sore spot, hold the trigger point until it settles down. 

SCM (Sternocleidomastoid)  

These muscles are the two ropy muscles that form a V at the front of your neck. They are relatively easy to grab with your “pincer grip” and find the areas of tension and soreness. 

Whether your work is sedentary, active or repetitive, your body needs care. Your muscle pains and aches must not be ignored. With a few of these stretches and self-massage techniques you can look after your muscles at work to reduce tension and pain.  

This blog only lists a few stretches out of a multitude of stretches. If any of these stretches do not work for your body, please let your massage therapist know and they can give you some other options to try.