Written by Mikaela Smith Hawthorn East Myotherapist

Have you been working from home during the lockdown?

One of the most common complaints coming through our clinic currently is upper back and neck pain. A vast majority of our clients aren’t getting the same opportunity to leave the house and go about their normal daily activities as before; we are missing out on those small movements that we took for granted. Walking to transport, taking the kids to school, walking to the next meeting or another colleague’s desk; all of these small activities get our muscles moving. Our days now consist of sitting at the dining table as a make shift desk opening the next Zoom meeting.

Setting up the home office is important for our posture and to help reduce pain from our new work location. Making a few small changes can help reduce the strain, including:

– Using a rolled up towel or a small pillow against the lower back will help with lower back pain, adding this support will help keep an arch in the lumbar spine
– Investing in a good ergonomic desk chair is extremely beneficial in ensuring we are sitting correctly.
– Whilst sitting at your desk, both feet should be planted on the floor, thighs parallel to the floor and with your knees at hip height. To achieve this you can use a box or some books to create an elevated foot rest.
– Ensuring your computer is at eye level, you can also use a box or some books to raise your computer screen to help bring the screen up to eye level. By bringing the neck back into align which will reduce the strain and the reoccurrences of headaches.
– Investing in wireless devices like a headset or headphones will stop you from tilting your neck when you’re on those business calls. A wireless keyboard and mouse can be very beneficial especially if you’re working from a laptop, it will help keep the screen at a good distance to stop the strain on the neck and eyes.

It is important to still keep active, getting up stretching and moving, doing a home workout or going for a walk. This is imperative for our mental health, even more so now more than ever! Getting up and moving at least once an hour will make a major improvement on your day, by having a glass for water encourages you to get up to fill it. Doing a few stretches every few hours or when you are starting to feel the tension build up are very easy and relaxing. Here are some easy exercises you can do yourself:

Neck stretch:
– Place you hand underneath your leg or shoulder, and use your opposite hand to gently pull your head towards your shoulder
Thoracic stretch:
– Taking a rolled up towel or a foam roller and laying on it length way along the spine, keep your knees bent with your feet flat on the floor. Place your arms out to the sides, with your palms facing up, feeling a stretch through the chest
Scapula retraction/Shoulder squeezes:
– With your chest open, squeeze your shoulder blades together by pulling the shoulders back and down, you’ll be able to feel the rhomboid muscles working in between the shoulder blades
Cobra pose/Back extension:
– Start lying on your stomach, with your hands flat on the floor at chest height, slowly raise your chest off the ground straightening out your arms, keeping your hips on the floor

If you are experiencing any pain or discomfort, book in with us at our Elite Myotherapy clinic’s for an appointment today. We are an essential service, here to help you! You don’t need to be in pain during lockdown, we are all in this together!