Sitting at a desk shouldn’t be a pain in the back: three stretches for students

Sitting at a desk shouldn’t be a pain in the back: three stretches for students

Whether you’re lugging heavy backpacks around, sitting through 3-hour long lectures, or having to convert your couch to a home-office, it’s no secret that school can take a toll on your body. Luckily, there’s good news — taking a few minutes per day to stretch will give your body a break, and has positive, pain-relieving benefits.

In part two of this three-part series, we will be covering three stretches specifically designed for the strains and pains that are placed on student’s bodies. These three, quick stretches can be done any time of day, and only take five minutes to complete.

Side bend

Side stretches will relieve tension between the ribs and strengthen the intercostal muscles (the muscles between your ribs). This movement can also help relieve tension in your neck and shoulders.

How to perform a side bend: 

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Reach both arms out to the side so they’re parallel with the ground.
  • Slowly reach one arm above your head and point to the opposite wall.
  • Hold for 10 seconds and repeat on the other side.


Twist and sway

The Twist and Sway movement stretches your back, hips, and glutes, so it’s especially good if you’ve been sitting for long stretches of time.

How to perform a twist and sway:

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • With your arms slightly bent or hanging loosely at your side, shift your weight from knee to knee as you twist to the left and right.


The Crossover can help relieve tension in the outer hips and low back.

How to perform crossover:

  • Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, raise your hands above your head with your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle.
  • Bring your right elbow across your body while lifting your left knee.
  • Touch your elbow to your knee, and slowly alternate.

Use caution if you have a balance disorder.

Straighten Up Alberta is a public education program offered by Alberta’s chiropractors, designed to increase awareness of and strengthen posture and improve spinal health. This scaled-down version, designed specifically for workers, is intended to provide relief when and where you need it. To see what else this program has to offer, visit

Posted on: September 15, 2021Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors