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Look after your back – Keep fit for Work!

September 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Back Care, Health Issues

Your painful back, neck or shoulders could be because of the way you sit or the amount of time you sit in one position. Problems can start either at home or work, so, GET FIT TO SIT!

Your body is designed for a much more active lifestyle. Keeping parts of the body still for too long, such as when you sit at a desk, can lead to stress on your spine with possible damage and pain.

Lighting, noise and badly-positioned furniture can all make you uncomfortable, so try to adjust things to suit you.

There is no one chair which suits everyone or every type of job. You should try to adjust your sitting position to the one that suits you best. Follow these few simple tips to help avoid back pain:

DO’S and DON’T’S

  • DO try to keep the body’s natural curves. Avoid looking like a banana
  • DO use a lumbar roll or a seat wedge to help maintain the back’s natural curve. A lumbar roll can be made by rolling a small towel and placing it between the chair and the lower part of your back
  • DO try to keep your elbows at right angles when using a keyboard – use an armrest
  • DO use a footrest if your feet don’t touch the ground or your chair can’t be lowered enough
  • DO avoid excessive neck movement by using a document holder if you do a lot of typing
  • DO place the keyboard where you can reach it easily and can key with either hand
  • DO try and arrange your work so that you achieve a mix of sitting still and moving around
  • DO get the body moving by doing a few exercises every hour or so. This will increase circulation, send more oxygen to the brain and help you stay alert

* * *

  • DON’T sit for too long. Stand up and stretch every 20 minutes or so
  • DON’T place things out of reach so that you have to make a lot of repetitive movements. Especially avoid twisting when sitting
  • DON’T lean forward more than you have to. Your head weighs about 14lbs
  • DON’T have your chair too far from your desk. The arms, if fitted, should not prevent the chair being pulled up close to the desk

This advice can help prevent back, neck and shoulder problems. However if a problem occurs, consult one of our Physiotherapists at The Wyndham Centre.

Tennis Elbow

March 11, 2010 by  
Filed under Joints, Physiotherapy, Summer Ailments

Summer tends to encourage us all to hit the sun drenched tennis courts. Unfortunately, it also means that it’s the time of year for tennis related injuries.

One of the most common is tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis), a pain on the outside of the elbow, which can radiate down into the forearm. This involves a sprain of the tendons of the forearm where they attach onto the bony ridge on the outside of the elbow. It can cause the local tendon tissue to degenerate and may have an inflammatory reaction.  This can be a stubborn problem resulting in long lasting symptoms, which are resistant to treatment and, it can be brought on by any activity involving gripping, digging, hammering or even carrying a heavy case.

New research suggests that the nerve system can play a major role in this condition and often the pain is referred from the neck and upper back and has associated sensory symptoms such as burning, pins and needles and numbness.  It can be persistent and unpredictable.

Irritation of this system can be caused by bad postures and unhelpful movement patterns sometimes related to poor ergonomics at work.

Cases of tennis elbow directly related to playing the sport have many possible causes including poor tennis training methods (especially incorrect backhand technique or excess wrist flicking during service), unsuitable rackets (often too heavy), wrong grip sizes (often too small), incorrect string tension and ball weight. Treatment may involve local electrotherapy, massage, acupuncture, stretching, exercising and strapping, which when applied appropriately can reverse the local mechanical degeneration and decrease the inflammatory changes. More importantly, therapists will also assess the patient’s total body posture.

Also, advice will be given to correct bad ergonomics at work and sports specific requirements will be considered. With appropriate holistic assessment and treatment from our Physiotherapists you will all enjoy a long, hot, pain free summer playing the game you love.

Our Physiotherapists here are trained to treat all types of sports injuries and get them better as quickly as possible.  Don’t forget that treatment shortens the healing process and gets you back to your game as soon as possible.

‘BACK IN CONTROL’

August 19, 2009 by  
Filed under Health Issues, Physiotherapy

Treat yourself to a Healthy Spine

It is a requirement by law (under the 1992 Health & Safety Regulation) that companies provide a work-station/ergonomic assessment for their employees.

Our assessment is designed to increase awareness in how to use the workplace to prevent bad postural habits.

The participant will learn a better understanding of themselves and the habits that they are unaware of, to the benefit of their health.

The assessment will include:

  • Looking at an employee’s workstation and making changes where necessary
  • Providing a report with recommendation and advice
  • Discussion on ways in which the spine is likely to become abnormal, damaged and painful in the general course of the day at work
  • Discussion on ways in which to avoid these problems through being aware of posture, positioning and correct use of the workstation
  • Discussion on how to keep a healthy back through activity outside of the working environment

We have a Physiotherapist with a special interest in work related injuries and ergonomics. She is an IOSH (Institute of Occupational Health & Safety) recognised workstation assessor with extensive experience in work place display screen equipment assessment. Additionally she has experience and a wide knowledge of appropriate furniture and accessories through working as a medical consultant for an ergonomic furniture supplier.

Common basic habits such as carrying heavy briefcases on one side, holding the phone between the shoulder and the ear, crossing legs, standing on one hip are highlighted and we emphasise the need to make a change in all aspect of daily living, not just in the work environment.

Simple guidelines for good ergonomics at work:

  • Place your monitor directly in front of you rather than off to one side
  • Have the keyboard at a comfortable height to reach with bent elbows
  • Then set appropriate chair at correct height
  • Use a foot, hand and mouse rest
  • Learn to be ambidextrous with the mouse
  • Take regular breaks and stretch