Tips to prevent and self-manage musculoskeletal pain at work

According to the UK Office of National Statistics, 31 million days were lost to sickness absence last year due to musculoskeletal pain or conditions such as neck and back pain.

At PhysioWellbeing, we feel that this may be preventable if there has been no specific injury. From the day each of us are born, we have to battle against gravity to keep ourselves in an upright posture. In order to spend the least amount of energy expenditure, we allow gravity to take affect on our bodies which can cause us to slouch altering our ‘ideal’ posture over time. The characteristics of slouching include traits such as loss of height, forward chin pokes and hunched or rounded shoulders.

Over time, if we allow gravity to exert more control, the new altering posture can eventually become our norm. That is why posture practice can be so difficult for the vast majority of people because you try to train yourself out of your ‘preferred’ posture which you have gradually adapted over time. Furthermore, the majority of normal activities of daily living are also a hindrance to our postures. This is not our fault because in our lives the majority of our activities or sports promote the forward altered posture because we predominantly ensue activities which are in front of us rather than behind- obviously because our eyes are at the front of our heads! Over time our predominance with activities in front of us can cause our posture to become fixed.musculoskeletal pain

This is because most people do not achieve their end range in their joints towards the opposite directions to try to counteract the predominance of activities in front. PhysioWellbeing uses the following analogy to elaborate this; If a cleaner only sweeps one side of a room for a significant amount of time and then allowed the other half of the room to collect dust, then over a course of time if she were to roll a ball bearing across the floor, the ball would be less smooth travelling across the floor on the side that was allowed to collect dust and most likely in 10 years the ball would eventually stop due to too much friction.

This analogy is how we must look at our joints – if one is not achieving end range in daily life then over the course of time they may lose their end joint range because their postures start altering due to stiffening of joints. There is no reason why one shouldn’t keep their flexibility up from when they were younger if they achieved the end ranges of their joint each day. Therefore, it should be crucial to keep up your end joint ranges in all the remaining directions other than just the predominant directions.

Every week PhysioWellbeing will be releasing valuable tips to prevent neck pain at your workplace! Starting next week is tip 1 – gentle neck range of movement exercises!