Take Five: 5 Physio Tips to help you work from home, injury-free

Burrard Physiotherapy has been open for a couple of months now and our therapists have been back at work, helping our valued patients recover from various injuries sustained throughout the COVID pandemic.   Although our office is open, many of our patients are still working from home.  This has resulted in a new wave of aches and pains as patients have been subjected to poor home office ergonomics.  People have been working from their beds, kitchen tables, and coffee tables, twisting and hunching over their devices for  hours at time.  This has resulted in a myriad of neck and back injuries that bring them in for treatment.  At Burrard Physiotherapy we aim to keep all our patients moving and help them live active, happy and injury-free lifestyles.  If you’ve been working from home and are starting to feel it take a toll on your body, have a read through these tips and see if they help!

1) The best posture is your next posture.

Postural variability is one of the most common pieces of advice we give to our clients.  When we are stuck in the same position for long periods of time we are most susceptible to postural strain.  This can result in muscle spasm/weakness, reduced joint range of motion and pain.  If we switch our positions often then we decrease the likelihood of postural strain.  So set a timer for 20-30 mins; take a quick posture break, reset and go back to your work!  We guarantee you won’t be any less productive.

2) Optimize your home office ergonomics

When working on a computer, your gaze towards your monitor should be at eye level.  If you’re setting up your laptops on the coffee or dining room tables you may be rewarded with a sore neck halfway through the day.  Take a few books from your shelf and make your home work environment a little more ergonomically friendly.  Or if you’re a Dad like me, a Huggies diaper box works great as a standing desk platform!

3) Try to do some quick stretches on a mini break!

Aim to take mini breaks throughout your day and use them to do some stretching.  These  are short 30-90 second breaks that won’t hinder your productivity but will allow you to activate tired, tight muscles.  Try one or a combination of the following:

1- shoulder blade squeeze: 10 reps

2- wrist stretches, fingers up and down: 30 sec

3- seated rotation in chair: 5 per side

4) Talk to your physio about a sit to stand desk

Depending on how many hours you are spending in front of a screen, you may benefit from a sit to stand desk.  You may want to book a virtual session with a therapist at Burrard Physiotherapy to discuss what kind of home office set up would be best for you.

5) Whether you stay in or go outside- find time for exercise!

At Burrard Physiotherapy we understand, during this COVID pandemic, it’s been hard for people to maintain previous levels of physical activity.  Gyms and community centers have been closed, only recently re-opening on a limited capacity.  This has resulted in a lot of people deconditioning over the past few months.  Staying active is absolutely key to thriving while working at home.  Whether you’re following a youtube video or going out for a run, a daily sweat of 30 minutes or more will help melt away that stiff neck and back.

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