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How to overcome the return to work niggles?



Our bodies are clever and adapt to the postural demands we ask of them. However they become accustom to the habits of our working environments, good or bad. Pain when in desk based environments is most commonly caused by the muscles imbalances that arise when we sustain a posture for a set amount of time.

So, how can we transition from our make shift home office, furlough or even a holiday back to our previous work set ups with minimal aches and pains.

And how can we improve our desk posture for a happier and healthier body working from home or returning to the office.


Reasons for desk job aches and pains;

· Poor posture

· Poor desk set up (ergonomics)

· Infrequent breaks

· ‘Hot desk’

Additional reasons if you work from home;

· The ‘sofa’ office – although we associate the sofa with comfort, there is very little support provided making slouched postures easier to find ourselves adopting.

Tip: Avoid working from the sofa!

· The ‘dining room’ office – a good alternative, however the dining room set up doesn’t give us the best ergonomics but there are simple fixes that can improve your working environment.

Tip: Try a rolled up towel in the curve of your lower back.

· The ‘kitchen worktop’ desk – a good alternative to a standing desk but make sure your kitchen counter height is right for you.

Tip: Don’t bend or hunch over, maintain an upright posture.

· Laptops – allows the flexibility to work where you want however their poor ergonomics over an extended period of time can cause excessive neck strain.

Tip: Correct your ergonomics by using a laptop stand, keyboard and mouse.



If you work at a desk here are our general tips to ease postural aches and pains at work!



Desk stretches


1. General arm stretch

Reach both hands up above the head interlace fingers, continue to push upward until you feel a stretch.

2. Thoracic mobility

Keep your feet planted firmly on the ground, rest one arm on the back of your chair and rotate towards your arm as far as comfortable. Repeat on the other side.

3. Pec stretches

Reach both arms behind your back, clasp your hands together and push downwards looking up with your chin to feel the stretch.

4. Neck stretches

Take ear to opposite shoulder then use the hand on the side you’ve tilted the neck to hold the head, use your free hand to hold the chair.


5. Overhead stretches

Reach up over your head with one arm, lean towards the opposite side, so your arm is draped over your head and you can feel a stretch in your side.


6. Wrist circles


Move your wrist around in circles making sure to circle in both directions to get the full benefit of mobilising the wrists.



Take regular breaks throughout the work day. For every 30 minutes sitting at your desk, take 2 minutes to stand and getting moving.

Tip: Set yourself a timer as a reminder to get moving.


Make sure you have the correct ergonomic set up and everything you need is within your reach.



If you want further advice about your aches and pains get in touch to learn more or to book an appointment.


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Laura Fishlock Osteoapthy

Shaw Osteopathic Clinic

70 Kiln Road

Newbury RG14 2LS

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