Knaresborough osteopath shares top tips on looking after your posture whilst working from home

As more people are working from home during the lockdown, a Knaresborough osteopath has said looking after your health is more important than ever.

Friday, 22nd May 2020, 10:01 am

Following the ‘stay at home’ announcement from the Prime Minister on March 23, many people had no option but to become accustomed to home working very quickly, often without the correct equipment.

And Seb Contrares from Castle Clinic says that whilst people adapt to a lifestyle of sitting for prolonged periods and staying inside, staying active is the number one priority for both physical and mental health.

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Seb Contrares from Castle Clinic in Knaresborough.

He told the Harrogate Advertiser: “People were thrown into this very quickly, many of whom have never worked from home before or are used to being very active with their jobs so it has been a real shock to the system.

“As things changed so fast, a lot of people have not had the chance to get set up properly from home, which means we are seeing people working from their dining room chairs or their sofa - and even their beds in some cases.

“This can put a lot of strain on your posture, so it is really important to keep looking after yourself and make sure you are moving constantly throughout the day.”

Seb says that whilst some evening or lunchtime exercise is great, walking up and down the stairs and to different rooms in the house every so often is also an important tool to stop things seizing up.

And with anxiety and stress levels high at the moment, he is advising people to focus on their wellbeing as a whole, as tension can make any posture problems worse.

During the lockdown, the practioners at the clinic have been running online consulations and making videos to help people use the correct techniques at home.

Seb said: “We have really been missing our clients and it has been really difficult because we are such a hands-on profession - sometimes you just want to reach through the screen and help.

“But the video consultations have been going really well and it has been lovely to catch up with people at this unusual time - we have even been showing family members how to perform massages or use different techniques to support those struggling.”

Staff at the clinic are now preparing to reopen - and whilst nothing is concrete yet, they are hoping to begin practicing face-to-face at the beginning of June.

Seb added: “We have been doing lots of planning and getting ready as we head towards the next step.

“We have introduced safeguarding and social distancing measures and are fully equipped with the appropriate PPE to keep our patients, our team and wider community safe. We want to get back to safely provide care for those who need it.”

Seb's top tips for looking after your posture:

“Whilst absolutely necessary, 8 weeks of lockdown has had various deleterious side effects on our health: socially, mentally and physically.

We have found that both increased levels of inactivity and poor home workstations have been the biggest contributing factors to a rise in enquiries for people suffering with back pain, neck pain and sciatica.

But pain doesn’t have to be a side-effect of home working. With a few simple tips, you can spare your spines. The first thing we suggest is the most simple - move.

Moving regularly is the best way to avoid back problems as physical stress isn’t able to focus on the same part of the back for long periods of time when you move regularly.

So whilst going for your daily walk is great, it isn’t enough to protect your back - you have to keep moving throughout the day.

If you’re working from a laptop, it is really helpful if you plug in an ancillary mouse and keyboard and use the laptop as a monitor only. Raise the monitor up using some books so that the laptop is at eye level.

Avoid working from the sofa, or worse, on your bed.

When working on a computer, to minimise the strain on your necks and shoulders, your elbows should be at 90 degrees. We’ve found those new to home working as a result of lockdown are often the ones working on the dining table with a normal chair.

This usually means their seats are too low and the angle at the elbow is too small.

Those that have been able to borrow an office chair from work, great as they are height adjustable. Not to worry if you don’t have access to one, placing a cushion under your bottom usually puts your arms into a better position.

Another good tip is to turn your kitchen counter or ironing board into a standing desk.

It’s not advisable to stand all day, but mixing sitting with standing changes where the forces are acting upon your spine, reducing the risk of straining a muscle, joint or disc.

For anyone who needs help, we are still here to help you. We are providing online video consultations where we can provide a diagnosis and offer guidance, including self-treatment tips, exercise prescription and some postural advice.

We are ready and all set to do what we do best - taking care of your wellbeing.”

Visit www.castleclinic.com for more information.

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