Going back to work can be a pain in the neck
The Hippocratic Post website, 7 January
Going back to work can be a pain in the neck – literally
In our clinics, the majority of injuries we see are caused by prolonged static inactivity, not acute trauma, often caused by people sitting at their desks for hours at a time without moving.
Studies show that two thirds of office workers now even eat lunch at their desks, and nearly a quarter of us work throughout lunch altogether – a trend that means that they may be sitting down for
most of the day.
Sitting in particular has specific negative effects on the muscle and joints including:
- A loss in the normal curve of the spine
- Increased pressure in the discs (cushions) of the spine
- Increased tension of the spinal cord
- Stretching and lengthening of certain supporting ligaments of the back and neck
- Shortening of certain postural muscles leading to muscle imbalances
Some offices now encourage workers to stand while they work
Some offices now encourage workers to stand while they work, but the solution is not to replace all-day sitting with all-day standing as this can cause problems in itself with over-tired feet and
The trend to look down while texting and using laptop computers and tablets means that neck injuries, so called “Text Neck” are just as common as lower back pain. This isn’t surprising when you
think that the load applied to the neck by bending the head forward to a 60 degree angle is equivalent to the weight of an eight-year-old child. The average human head weighs around 17 pounds and
this is effectively quadrupled because of the angle of the neck.
In addition to this, studies have found that people who are engaged with digital technology actually ‘zone out’ and tend to move and even blink less. Unfortunately, this can lead to long-term
damage of the muscles and ligaments as a result of prolonged tension through tissue and fatigue of supporting muscles.
So what can we do about it?
Here are 5 top tips to offset the negative effects if sitting:
While sitting there are some simple exercises you can do to stretch tight muscles and joint.
Check the Charted Society of Physiotherapists website for some examples. These can be done easily sitting
right at your desk.
Walking is probably the most simple way to combat muscle and joint problems, plus is has numerous other added benefits. Try aim for the magical 10,00 steps per day for maximal benefit.
Have a look at the NHS Live Well website for more information.
Talking to colleagues helps to build relationships and improve our overall Mental Wellbeing. It also helps you to “unplug” from the workplace and can even increase your productivity. If you need
more help you can even get software such as Time out for Mac or Work Rave for Windows PC’s that will lock your computer and force you to unplug.
4. Take time out
Just like talking, taking a moment in the day to practice some deep breathing or mindfulness is a great way to improve your working habits. Some great resources for this include Calm.com, Headspace, or Buddhify.
Check the NHS Choices website for
more info on this.
You knew if would be in there! If there was a magic bullet to cure all ailments, then this is it!! Try get your recommended 150 minutes of moderate intensity throughout the day. This could be a
short lunchtime gym session, or even taking the stairs when you get to work, at lunch and when you go home, every little bit counts! Check out Dr Mike Evans great video below on how we can make our
day harder for more info.
Miles Atkinson is Head of Occupational Health Services at Crystal Palace Physio Group (www.cppg.co.uk) and is Vice Chair of the Association of Charted Physiotherapists in Occupational Health and
Ergonomics (http://www.acpohe.org.uk/) .
Ever heard someone say they know it's going to rain because their
For hundreds of years, people have wondered if the weather affects their
Cloudy with a chance of pain is the world's first
smartphone-based study to investigate the association.
If you have arthritis or chronic pain, live in the UK and have a
smartphone, you can take part
This is a national smartphone study looking at the relationship between chronic pain and
the weather, and we are keen to let as many people as possible know about the project before recruitment ends on 20 January 2017.
For More information:-
Web page www.cloudywithachanceofpain.com
Twitter Twitter @CloudyPain #cloudypain
New research finds both acupuncture and Alexander Technique lessons can relieve chronic neck pain.
"Acupuncture or Alexander technique lessons are worth trying if you're experiencing chronic neck pain and don’t feel medication is solving the problem. We have seen for ourselves the difference
they’ve made to both pain levels and quality of life for many patients involved in our trial." - Dr MacPherson
HOW TO RUN A MARATHON
With the London Marathon fast approaching Physiotherapist Uzo Ehiogu gives some top advice: "Never let your competitive mind overpower your enjoyment. When
you’re happy and relaxed, you’re a better runner and you’ll find that you won’t need competitive thoughts to motivate you. Competitive thoughts lead to stress and sometimes feelings of self-doubt and
The decision by the health secretary, Jeremy
Hunt, to press ahead with imposing a controversial new contract on junior doctors in England has been criticised by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.
Prof Karen Middleton, chief executive of the CSP,
'Imposing the contract is a poor way to conduct industrial
relations and risks creating a climate of distrust from the very beginning of any future negotiations between the government and health unions.
'Ironically, it also undermines the drive to create the seven-day
NHS that Mr Hunt desires because for those services to be safe and effective for patients, they must be adequately resourced and designed in collaboration with staff.
'The damaging rift he has caused through sledgehammer tactics
make achieving that goal increasingly unlikely and that is unacceptable for the patients who would benefit from access to weekend services where there is a genuine clinical case for providing
Get fit before you hit the slopes, urge physios in French skiing resorts
8 February 2016 -
Physiotherapists in French ski resorts have hit back at media reports that off-piste drinking is causing an increase in accidents.
Ginny Christy says many injuries can be caused by events before a skier even sets foot on snow
have denied that harmful après ski behaviour is on the rise and encouraged pre-season exercise as the best way to prevent injury.
Allison, clinical lead physio at the Bonne Santé practice and now in her tenth season at the Val D’Isere ski resort, said: ‘I was a chalet girl in Val d’Isere over 15 years ago, and it was no
different then. It’s definitely an issue, but I don’t think it's any more now than it has been before.’
about 100 CSP members working through the skiing season in France, physios say injuries instead depend on the snow conditions and, most importantly, the skiers’ fitness before they hit the
people who have niggling backs, that are a lot worse when the snow is hard-packed, icy and less forgiving,’ Mrs Allison said.
we have a lot of snow, that’s when we see more knee ligament issues as skis are more likely to catch in deep snow and result in twisting forces that are transferred to the
I have three anterior cruciate ligament and two medial collateral ligament appointments.’
put pro Joe Hides back on the slopes. Photo: Webster Aesthetics
believes these injuries can be avoided with fitness, strength and endurance training before holidaymakers set off for their skiing breaks.
important is preparing for the skiing holiday,’ she said. ‘Making sure they're well-conditioned before they come out here and that they’ve got good levels of fitness to be able to perform at
is one of the biggest factors why ski injuries occur, Mrs Allison said. ‘Skiers should not only prepare through fitness training before they come away but they should also pace themselves on the
Christy, the owner of Alpine Therapies, a mobile physio, Pilates and massage service operating in Courchevel and Meribel, agreed that many injuries can be caused by events before the skier even sets
foot on the snow.
people who have chronic back pain who come skiing and find it gets worse,’ Mrs Christy said.
if they’re fit and sporty, people go from doing a couple of hours maximum at the gym each day, to trying to ski all day every day for a week,’ she said.
physio service hoping to target the problem is London-based Central Health, where people can get personalised programmes to prepare for their skiing holidays. David Wales, a specialist musculoskeletal physiotherapist at Central Health, said: ‘The concept
of being able to modify risk factors to prevent injury has caught on in sport, but not yet with the public.’ The clinic, which also runs rehabilitation classes for ski injuries in its gym, invites people to come for an initial assessment
before creating a personalised physio plan lasting several weeks.
emphasis is on improving alignment and stability,’ Mr Wales said. ‘What we’re trying to do is improve that person’s neuro-muscular control. ‘If the person can move better, their risk of injury is
professional skier is hoping to compete in a skiing world cup this March, despite a serious injury last year. Joe Hides, who has been skiing for 13 years and competing for 10 years, believed he would need surgery when he tore his knee
cartilage at the Euro Cup competition in Slovenia.
However, an intensive programme of strengthening the muscles around the tear with physio Dr Michael Lee of Sheffield Sports, Medicine and Physiotherapy, has meant that he is
now back on the slopes and hoping to compete in just two months’ time.
‘It was training everyday on the knee, lots of heavy lifting, weighted squats and lunges.’ Mr Hides said. ‘My whole existence is based around my skiing career and the happiness I get from it. So to be back so soon and to be feeling so
confident about an injury I was previously so unconfident about, feels absolutely fantastic.’
Head, shoulders, knees & toes – workstation
Hands up if your
new year’s resolution was to be healthier?
Signing up to the
January half price gym membership offer or whipping up a moothie in the Nutribullet your aunt gave you for Christmas are great ideas - but have you considered how you can stay healthy & active at
During this year,
the average UK full time office worker (40hrs pw) will spend 2,080 hours at their desk. Working at a computer often involves very few changes to body position and can still be harmful even for people
who exercise regularly. This lack of movement can lead to muscular aches and pains as well as increasing your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
To get moving, try
our Workstation Exercises or download our free PDF advice sheet.
With exercises for
your back, legs and ankles, neck and shoulders, forearms and wrists and even your fingers, our workstation exercises will have you feeling happier and healthier from head to
As the Summer holidays approach, thoughts turn to travel. Limited movement, dehydration and fatigue are all things associated with long haul flights. Many of these can be
reduced by following a few simple tips:
Getting ready to go
- If you can book your seat in advance, try to get an aisle seat or exit row giving you more room to stretch your legs. That way you can get up and move around without disturbing your
- If possible, split your load between more than one piece of luggage. Think about the type of luggage you are using – does it have wheels? Make sure you pack any required medication in
your hand luggage.
- If you suffer from varicose veins or other circulatory problems, it might be worth considering taking compression stockings with you. Remember to put them on before you leave for the
At the Airport
- Avoid carrying your luggage for any distance – find a trolley.
- You’ll be sitting down for the best part of your flight so take advantage of the opportunity to walk around the airport.
- Do some stretches and exercises for your legs, arms and spine. These can also be done whilst you are on the plane. With your hands resting on your thighs, curl your upper back and shoulders
forwards pushing your chin into your chest, then arch backwards, lifting your chin to mobilise your spine. Stretch your side muscles by keeping your hips steady then stretching your arms up over your
head and tilting your body to the side without twisting your waist. Loosen your upper back by rotating your upper body to either side.
- Get up and walk around whenever the aisles are clear.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Avoid sitting with your legs crossed as this reduces circulation.
- Try not to fall asleep in an awkward or unsupported position; you don’t want to arrive with a stiff neck! Use a pillow behind your neck or one of the blow-up horseshoe pillows if you
have one. Ask the flight attendant if you can have an extra pillow. You can use it to push into the small of your back and it will help to keep your back straight when sitting.
- Maybe you could walk to the baggage collection area instead of taking the travelators.
- Remember to lift your bags correctly, bending the knees and using the abdominal muscles. Don’t twist or over-extend over the baggage carousel – ask for help if necessary, and don’t
forget that trolley!
If you are participating in sports events, don’t rush into your training. You may be less flexible than usual for a short while. If possible, gradually ease into it over the next
few days, and get in some extra stretches to help get back to your peak.