Is Working from Home a Pain in the Neck?

Is Working from Home a Pain in the Neck?

Physio One’s TOP TIPS for today may just help keep that pain away!

When we sit down at our desks we all start with perfect posture, but even with the best of intentions over time we tend to fatigue and stray from this ideal position. And it’s even harder to maintain good posture when we’re working from home, away from our well set up offices. As time passes we have a tendency to slump through our lower back, round our shoulders and poke our chin forwards – often leading to discomfort and injury.

Our TOP TIP for the day is to put a post it on your screen, a dot on your hand, or a reminder on your phone… every time you see or hear that reminder try to reset your posture.

Here are 3 easy exercises to help along the way!

  1. Squeeze your shoulder blades back
    1. Sitting up tall, gently draw your shoulder blades down and back together.
    1. Hold this position for 10 seconds, rest, and repeat 10 times.
    1. Try to keep the muscles on top of your shoulders and under your armpits relaxed as you squeeze your shoulders back.
  2. Chin Tucks
    1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and head facing the ceiling. Use your fingers to feel your lower neck muscles.
    1. Gently nod your head to tuck your chin into your neck – make sure your head stays on the pillow and the muscles under your fingers stay relaxed.
    1. Hold this position for 10 seconds.
    1. Return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
  3. Bow and Arrow
    1. Lie on your side with your arms out in front of you.
    1. Bend your top elbow and pull it back behind you, twisting through your upper back as much as possible and looking over your shoulder.
    1. Repeat 10 times on each side.

Do you experience neck pain everyday

  1. What you should know and tips on how to improve neck pain

There are various types of neck pain and it is important to firstly, have this assessed by a Physiotherapist so that we can tailor advice, treatment and exercises specifically for you. 

The three most common types of neck pain include:

  1. Neck pain and Headaches – often presents gradually over time with an increase in intensity of symptoms. This may be related to posture (sitting or sleeping) and can be aggravated by stress.
  2. Wry Neck – an acute (sudden) onset of pain.  It often feels as though the neck becomes “locked” in one position, and is characterised by reduced motion. This loss of movement is often due to the vertebrae (bones) and cartilage within the joints becoming temporarily “locked.”
  3. Whiplash – Often related to an incident/accident, where there has been a sudden stop or change of direction from impact. This often causes pain and reduced movement in the neck or upper back. There has often been some trauma to the ligaments, joints, muscles and nervous system, due to the sudden change in direction of movement. 

Common Treatment Methods used at Physio One;

It is important to contact your Physiotherapist as early on as symptoms present.  At Physio One, assessment and treatment is tailored to each unique patient. Commonly treatment may involve;

  • Soft tissue release
  • Gentle joint mobilisation
  • Dry needling
  • posture re-education
  • stretches
  • strengthening exercises

Tips on how to improve and prevent neck pain;

Physiotherapy plays an important role in individually assessing each patients spine and understanding different lifestyles.  Key areas at Physio One we focus on, include;

  • sitting/standing/lifting posture
  • sleeping habits and posture
  • exercise routine
  • lifestyle, work-related stressors
  • teaching self-management strategies to work with you towards improving pain

All of our Physiotherapists are qualified and experienced in treating a variety of different types of neck pain. Please contact the clinic directly or you can book online via our website, if you would like to work with us in helping you to return to enjoying the activities you love. 

Pregnancy and Exercise

  1. Ante/post-natal at Physio One

During pregnancy the female body with experience enormous change. Hormonal changes will cause ligaments to become lax and weight distribution changes will occur. These key changes can put pressure on the lower back, pelvis and soft tissue structures. Specifically targeted exercise, at abdominal, pelvic floor and gluteal muscles can help to improve movement and reduce pain. 

Can I exercise during pregnancy?

It is always advised to discuss with your health care professional before commencing exercise during pregnancy. There are certain precautions and contraindications which your GP or Obstetrician may discuss with you regarding exercise during pregnancy.

Generally, regular exercise during pregnancy has important benefits. It is important to work with your Physiotherapist to find the correct level and load of exercise you should take part in.

Key benefits of exercise during and after pregnancy;

  • Improves pain and function, and helps to prevent re-occurrence of back/pelvic pain
  • Improves physical fitness and manage weight
  • Can increase the recovery time after giving birth
  • Shown to positively impact sleep, energy and mood
  • Can help to improve/manage incontinence
  • Can help improve mental health and wellbeing

GUIDELINES & RECOMMENDATIONS – during and after giving birth

The Australian guidelines that women during pregnancy should participate in 150-300 minutes of low-moderate physical activity.

Avoid exercise performed lying on back after first trimester

Maintaining adequate hydration and nutrition to support energy expenditure

Exercise that involves contact and/or has a high risk of falling should be avoided (e.g. skiing/snowboarding, scuba diving, skateboarding, basketball, soccer, horse riding)

Classes such as ‘Hot Yoga’ or ‘Hot Pilates’ or swimming in an overheated pool should be avoided due to risk of overheating

Monitor for signs to cease exercise: vaginal bleeding, headache, dizziness, chest pain, difficulty breathing before exertion, muscle pain.

Commencing pelvic floor muscle training early in post-partum period to reduce or prevent post-natal associated incontinence.  After vaginal births, pelvic floor exercises stimulate circulation and help the tissue healing process. After 4-6 weeks, typically you will be able to commence light forms of exercise, however, every female and birth is different and it is advised to see a Women’s Health Professional prior to commencing.

Ante/post-natal at Physio One

At Physio One, we help to establish a pregnancy and post-partum recovery program with each individual. If you have any questions or enquiries, please contact the clinic. We also run Physio-tailored Pilates and strength classes, appropriate for throughout pregnancy and post-partum. 

Lower back pain

Should I be having a scan for my lower back pain, or not?

One in six Australians experience ongoing back pain. Many people have imaging such as X-ray, CT or MRI scans to look for a cause. What is often not fully understood, is that often imaging does not always correlate with symptoms and thus doesn’t always influence the direction of treatment. 

For example, research shows that most 50 year olds, with no history of lower back pain, will have disc bulges shown on an MRI scan. Medical literature has demonstrated that just because our body is in pain, a scan, does not always reflect why our body is experiencing that pain.  We know that spinal pain, can be influenced by other factors in our lives, such as; our previous levels of back pain, other health conditions, certain stressors and behaviors.

In some cases, it is important to have imaging done to help identify specific structures and alter the direction of treatment accordingly. It is best to always consult with your health professional and undergo a thorough musculoskeletal Physiotherapy assessment. During this assessment, a physical exam will involve observing patterns of movement, strength, posture, mobility and nerve function.  

Physiotherapy treatment for disc injuries may involve;

Soft tissue release of tight, overactive muscles

Joint and disc mobilisation

Dry needling or acupuncture

Strapping / bracing 

Exercise based rehabilitation

Fortunately, most disc injuries will respond well to conservative treatment from a Physiotherapist. At Physio One, it is our goal to work with you throughout your rehabilitation and help to establish good routines and work towards your personal goals.

Kegel Exercises

  1. The 3 C’s for your pelvic floor; Correct, Coordinated and Controlled

Pelvic floor muscle activations are commonly known as “Kegel exercises.” This group of muscles sit in the base of your pelvis and they play an important role in; bladder and bowel habits, sexual function and every day confidence.

Pelvic floor muscle strengthening is often known as Kegel exercises. A pelvic floor muscle activation refers to the contraction and relaxation of these muscles. 

Without an internal pelvic floor muscle examination, performed by a Women’s Health professional, it can be hard to ensure the correct technique is being performed during Kegel exercises. If you are unsure about your technique or do currently suffer from Pelvic floor conditions (such as; incontinence or prolapse), consult with a Women’s Health Professional.

When we are performing our pelvic floor muscles exercises at home, there are three key aspects to think about; correct, coordinated and controlled muscle activation.

The 3C’s:

Correct muscle activation: It is important to make sure that we perform the pelvic floor muscle activation correctly. It is common to adopt poor muscle habits overtime and it can be hard to make changes to technique. For example, one of the most common incorrect activation’s we see in clinic, is when patients try to “push down” during a muscle activation. This bearing-down muscle action puts an increased downward pressure on the pelvic floor muscles and causes strain. This can potentially worsen symptoms or be problematic overtime. There are many ways which correct technique can be taught, and you may find there are different cues which your muscles respond to better. The correct activation should be a constant focus when you are training pelvic floor muscles. One possible way to think about this activation, is to “lift up” the pelvic floor muscles, “as if you are trying to lift up a small object (i.e. a pearl) with the lips of your vagina,” or “lift up the muscles as if you are trying to stop the flow of urine.” Those are two common cues which we use in clinic, but it is important to find cues which your muscles and brain respond to. The main focus is to ‘lift UP’ the muscles and to avoid ‘pushing DOWN.’

Coordination: The pelvic floor muscles work with other pelvic, hip, deep abdominal and lumbar muscles. It is important that we train them to coordinate with our breathing and deep abdominal muscles (Transversus abdominis). Like any muscle training, it can take time to train technique and co-activation with other muscle groups. Learn how to train coordination of these muscles by downloading one of our FREE eBook’s (The Active Pelvic Floor: Step-by-step Guide for Improving Bladder Leakage in Active Females). Download HERE

Control: Overtime, with practice, you will find that the muscle activation’s begin to feel more controlled. Initially, it is important teach awareness of when these muscles switch on and switch off. With many and many Kegel’s later, you will find the activation becomes a more automatic response in functional situations. For example, initially, you will have to train you brain to think about engaging your pelvic floor muscles before a sneeze. Overtime, this pelvic floor muscle activation will become automatic.

Try to implement these ‘3C’s‘ when you are next performing your Kegel training. If you are unsure, please contact the clinic and we are happy to book you in for a Women’s health consultation with our female Physiotherapist.