1. Manage your stress
The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating worldwide. We are lucky in Australia that the spread of illness is now being well contained. However, the social distancing measures have not come without a significant cost for many businesses, their employees and our way of life. Higher levels of stress are common and in the coming weeks, parents will also be juggling home schooling and many people will experience pain working at home.
Stress has a direct and marked impact on pain levels, so if you experience pain working at home and your normal achy neck or back is worse than usual, stress may be playing a substantial role. Often one of the first things you notice when stressed, is muscle tension developing around the neck and shoulder region. You may also feel tension developing in the lower back, particularly if you are sitting rigidly on the edge of your chair. Be sure to sit back in your chair and relax, allowing the chairback to support you.
When you are feeling overwhelmed or feeling tension and pain build in your neck or back, try some relaxed deep breathing. It can work wonders!
2. Optimise your home working environment
Many workers have had no choice but to make a rapid transition to a home-office, with less than ideal ergonomic set up. Pain working at home can result.
Problem: Using a laptop or tablet for prolonged periods will mean a poor neck angle and substantial increases in loads on the joints and muscles of the neck and upper back.
Solution: Organise an external monitor and/or keyboard, to ensure you can look straight ahead at your screen. These were in very short supply but are available again now.
Problem: Your desk and/or seat height may not be suitable.
Solution: Most people won’t want to invest in a new home set up for this temporary situation. But you can improve the situation usually with pillows, back supports, footrests and even bricks to alter the height of a low desk!
Aim to avoid situations where:
a. your knees are higher than your hips
b. your elbows are bent more than 90degrees
If you need a wedge cushion, decompression cushion or a back support, you can drop by the clinic to pick one up or we can organise delivery.
One of our physiotherapists can also check out your home working environment via a Telehealth video consultation.
3. Continue (or start) your Physiotherapy Rehabilitation Program
Don’t let this golden opportunity pass you by! Often our patient’s lives are so busy with all the events they must attend for work or family, that their home exercise program goes by the wayside. This makes it difficult to fully overcome a persistent pain issue.
Now is the time to attend studiously to your home program and get on top of those problems once and for all. This will help control pain working at home and it’s also very important for athletes to use this time to maintain or improve conditioning to avoid injuries when returning to sport.
Our physiotherapists are now transitioning back into the clinic after a short break with COVID-19 social distancing, so you can:
- organise a check up on your program,
- address a problem you have been meaning to attend to for ages or
- put a plan in place to maintain your conditioning to prevent injury when returning to sport or your regular physical activity
We can provide assistance either in the clinic or with our telehealth service.
Telehealth is a video consultation. It allows us to assess your movement, check exercise technique, and tailor an exercise program for home. If you do not have an existing diagnosis for your painful condition, we’ll take a thorough history and step you through a variety of tests. This will help us determine what the main problem is.
The telehealth consultation also includes a free app with an individualised program. These exercises have video, audio and text descriptions available. On top of this, the in-app features also include tracking so you can check off your exercises daily and a messaging system to keep in touch with your physiotherapist.
Read more about Telehealth here.
4. Engage in regular exercise
We already know the important benefits of exercise, some of which include:
- Positive effects for mental health
- Weight control
- Improved sleep quality
- Prevention and management of a variety of health problems
- Physiological benefits for the body, such as improving strength and mobility, which in turn help us to maintain independence.
Additionally, and perhaps most importantly right now, we know that regular physical activity decreases the risk of a person contracting a communicable disease (such as viral and bacterial infections). It enhances the ability of a person’s immune system to control itself. (Campbell & Turner 2018, Dominski & Dominski, 2020). Therefore continuing, maintaining or starting an exercise program is encouraged.
While the gyms and Pilates studies are closed, your options are to exercise outside or at home. There are many free exercise classes available online, but for those with previous injuries, be cautious. Some of these low-quality programs will not be suitable and may aggravate your condition or produce a new one.
Our physiotherapists can check your home exercise technique easily with telehealth , helping you control pain working at home. If you have gym equipment at home, Eric Huang, our strength and conditioning physiotherapist is very happy to check your lift technique and provide some ideas to vary or progress your program.
Did you know?
Our Pilates instructors are also providing a high-quality Online Pilates service. Each class is run by one of our qualified Pilates Instructors and lasts approximately 40minutes. The classes focus on strength and conditioning exercises with the aim of keeping you moving and helping you maintain good functionality.
Those who have already started these classes with Alice or Lisa have been loving them! Each class is limited to 4 people, and exercises are adapted for every client’s condition or physical fitness. The small class sizes also allow the instructor to monitor your form and posture, thus maximising your performance and safety.
Classes are priced at $20 per session, sold in packs of 5.
Call us on (07) 3342 4284 or contact us today to book in your free class trial!
Campbell, J. P., & Turner, J. E. (2018). Debunking the myth of exercise-induced immune suppression: redefining the impact of exercise on immunological health across the lifespan. Frontiers in immunology, 9, 648.