The Back Pain Pandemic
In March 2020 Covid-19 triggered a National Lockdown causing working from home to become the new normal for all or part of the working week.
Although working from home has many benefits such as reduced travel time and cost and more flexible working, it does have its problems. One significant issue we have noticed is the huge increase in back and neck problems as a result of sitting at a desk for prolonged periods of time.
Many people have found themselves working from kitchen tables or desks not designed for working from. The result of this is pain as a result of the body being sat in sub-optimal posture for long periods. When working in a normal office people will often move rooms for meetings and move around to chat with colleagues and maybe enjoy a walk from the car park/train station/bus stop to the workplace. However, home working eliminates any need to move for hours at a time.
Potential causes of low back pain
- Prolonged sitting
- Firmness and type of chair and presence of lumbar support
- Height of your chair in relation to your desk
- Position of your computer and monitors on your desk
- Prolonged use of a phone hand set
Even with the best setup, working in one position without breaks is a major cause of back and neck pain. We recommend getting up every hour to stretch and and move around, allowing your body a change from the monotonous sitting posture we have to adopt when desk based working.
- Consider a Standing Desk
If regular brakes are not an option, could it be a possibility for yourself or your employer to invest in a standing desk? These are now affordable for many people and businesses. This way your position and posture can be regularly changed from sitting to standing throughout your day, as well as allowing the height of your desk to be adjusted to the perfect height for when you’re sat.
- Ideal Sitting Position
The ideal desk arrangement is to have your arms bent at a 90-degree angle with your computer monitor straight ahead so you’re not having to look up or down at the screen. It may also be beneficial to have wrist supports on your mouse mat and keyboard to help limit repetitive strain injuries to your wrists and forearms such as tennis elbow.
A bed, armchair or sofa is great for relaxing, but may not be ideal for spending hours hunched over your computer. Setting up a workspace with a desk and investing in a chair that can support your posture whilst working is well worthwhile. It doesn’t have to be overly expensive but should be specifically designed to use at a desk
What to look for in a supportive chair:
- adjustable armrests (elbows at about a 90-degree angle when you’re sat).
- Short armrest so your chair can be positioned close to your desk.
- Lumbar support is important.
- Adjustable height, allowing your feet to rest on the floor (Alternatively place a step under your feet so you’re well supported).
- Adjustable depth of the seat is worth considering too to allow you to sit comfortable close to your desk.
HOW CAN WE HELP IF YOUR STRUGGLING WITH BACK/NECK PAIN?
Here at Bradley Physio we specialise in treating patients with neck, back and a wide variety of musculo-skeletal problems. We offer a variety of hands on treatments along with home exercise problems to relieve your pain whilst also attempting to prevent future recurrence. We are also able to give you more detailed advice regarding your own particular work station.
For those patients who would like to help prevent future problems pilates training offers a relaxing method of stretching and strengthening the body’s core postural muscles, which support our back and neck thus limiting problems with back and neck pain in the future. It also reinforces good postural habits so that over time you naturally begin to adopt improved postural positions.
We offer face to face classes at our Rochdale and Rossendale clinics in our on site studios as well as offering all of our classes virtually via a live-stream. All of our classes are led by experienced instructors that have a detailed training in pilates, allowing our classes to be tailored to a patient’s specific requirements.
If you would like to discuss your concerns further or to book in for a consultation please contact us: