THOUSANDS of Brits are suffering with “Covid back” as working from home during the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on our spine health.
New data shows that around 64 per cent of young adults are suffering from back pain as a result of over 12 months of using a makeshift desk at home.
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Research from MindyourbackUK and Mentholatum revealed that just 11 per cent of 18-29 year olds received work station equipment from their employers.
GP Dr Gill Jenkins said for the six in ten Brits that have been working from home since the start of the pandemic, a relaxation of the rules can’t come quick enough.
Lei spiegò: “Almost half don’t have constant access to a table and supportive chair during their working day, while an unfortunately 20 per cent have to work while sitting on a sofa or bed.
“This plays absolute havoc with posture and spine health”.
When working from any desk job, it’s important you get up and stretch – especially if you don’t have the right equipment.
It’s recommended that you get up and stretch every hour if you have a desk job and shockingly just seven per cent of those surveyed actually did this.
Dr Jenkins added: “Caring for our backs can reduce stress and boost energy so we can live our lives to the full, without pains and aches holding us back.
“We can’t hurry the lockdown easing but we can do things at home to care for our backs.”
Here Dr Jenkins reveals five things you can do from the comfort of your own home to help your back.
Stretching can be both a great way to start the day and to relax after a busy shift.
Dr Jenkins said: “Gentle stretching, even for a few minutes a day, increases mobility and helps loosen tight muscles.”
She said that stretches such as a spinal stretch can help to increase mobility, reduce stiffness, improve circulation and help take back pain away.
To complete a spinal stretch place your feet hip width apart then slowly raise your arms, with your palms facing the ceiling.
Then reach as high as you can comfortably before releasing your breath out before lowering your arms back to your side, repeat this twice.
There are a variety of therapies you can do from your own home that don’t cost the earth.
Dr Jenkins said both hot and cold therapies are best and that you will get the most out of these if you alternate them.
“Or anti-inflammatory topical therapies (rubs, spray, patches), such as Deep Heat, Deep Freeze and Deep Relief which help kick-start the healing process.”
The back was made to move and not to be sat at a desk all day, with that in mind, exercise is a great way to help alleviate back pain.
Dr Jenkins said walking, cycling and swimming are all gentle, low impact, exercises that help to mobilise your muscles and joints.
From slumping at our desk all day to lounging about on the sofa, all of these everyday actions play a part in our posture.
“Check your posture, especially while doing desk work or watching TV, to ease non-specific lower back pain and enhance healing”, Dr Jenkins added.
If you know you’re likely to be at a desk-based job for a while then it could be worth building up strength.
Core and back exercises strengthen back muscles and prevent localised stiffness and pain.
To help strengthen your back you could try exercises such as the roll down, the plank, and a bridge.
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Previous research conducted by Logitech also found that there has been a significant increase in joint-related complaints as a result of working from home.
London-based GP Dr Shireen said: “Physical joint pain can be the result of poor posture when working from home, but it is also closely interlinked to mental health in a vicious cycle of pain, disability and feeling helpless.
“As UK employees are now glued to their laptops with no face-to-face meetings, the boundaries of work and home life are becoming easily blurred.
“The solution is to keep a routine in your day with a healthy home set-up and to set clear personal boundaries to make a distinction to switch off at the end of the day!”