- Physiotherapy can help office workers reduce the risk of both mental and physical ailments.
- Good posture at the office is essential to prevent pain and injury.
- The risks of prolonged sitting include elevated blood pressure, trouble breathing, and mental ailments including stress and anxiety.
- If injured or have an underlying illness, we recommend consulting with a physiotherapist to lessen the risk of injury during physical activity.
Physiotherapy for office workers: The Facts.
Postural, muscular, and joint problems that afflict office workers are plenty. Add to that the side effects of sedentary life, and you can understand why the average office worker often complains about back pain, problems breathing, bad circulation, and psychiatric illnesses including, depression, and anxiety.
To understand the value of physiotherapy for office workers, we must look at the science. A study published on NCBI titled “adverse effects of prolonged sitting behaviour on the general health of office workers,” concluded: “Sitting behaviour had adverse effects on office workers. Active workstations are therefore recommended to improve working conditions.”
However, many office workers do not have much control over their work environment. Meaning, the only factor you are in control of is your body. Physiotherapy can help you combat the effects of prolonged sitting. How? Find out below.
What are the risks of sitting too much, and how can physiotherapy help?
Medical studies have found a link between office work and a cluster of conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, abnormal cholesterol levels, weakening and wasting of leg muscles, bad posture, and there is enough medical evidence to support the claim that sitting for prolonged periods may increase your risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
These problems may also afflict long-distance drivers.
Physiotherapy is a branch of medicine concerned with promoting, maintaining, or restoring health through physical intervention, examination, diagnosis, and prognosis. Physiotherapists also provide education to patients to help prevent disease and injury. Today, we provide education to office workers, so the question is: How can physiotherapy help office workers or people who live sedentary lifestyles?
Stiffness and pain around the neck, shoulder, and sometimes in the hands is a common complaint amongst office workers. These symptoms are often the result of bad posture. What causes bad posture?
Office work requires you to sit at a computer or use electronic devices. Stemming from that situation are postural problems, including, Text Neck/Forward Head Posture, Upper Cross syndrome, and rounded shoulders.
Office workers may also develop other posture-related problems including scoliosis, lordosis, and swayback or flat back. We have an article on How to Correct Bad Posture (LINK TO BAD POSTURE), so if that is your main affliction, you should read that after you finish this.
In short. Physiotherapy for office workers aimed at fixing bad posture relies on a patient-specific approach designed to find weak muscles and imbalances. After finding the problem area, the next step is to strengthen the muscles and/or loosen stiff joints.
Recommended exercises for bad posture:
- Chin tucks
- Wall angels
- Blackburn exercises
- Cable rows.
Physiotherapy for injured office workers
On the surface, working at a desk poses very little risk of suffering injuries, however, according to collected data, the most common injuries in an office environment include repetitive strain injuries, musculoskeletal injuries, fractures, and lacerations.
How can a physiotherapist help, and what exercises are recommended?
Most of the injuries mentioned above may result from bad posture or accidents, to lessen the risk, we recommend investing in Ergonomic Furniture. What if the damage is already done?
As mentioned, physiotherapy aims to prevent injury and rehabilitate the body post-injury. The focus is primarily on optimising strength and restoring function and movement. It is a very hands-on approach that encompasses massages, stretches, and physical activity.
Your body tells you that there is an issue through pain, the longer you wait. The more the damage will progress and, by extension, the more pain you will experience. Consequently, if you are an office worker and are currently experiencing persistent pain in your joints, back, muscles, or any part of your body. It is essential to consult with a trained professional. It could be a physician or physiotherapist. If you have muscles or joint problems, physicians will recommend working with a physiotherapist.
How can a physiotherapist help with office-related injuries?
Arthritis, injury, and bad posture are all possible causes of pain, especially amongst office workers. However, without proper training and without the right tools it could be impossible to find the root cause of your problem. Physiotherapists work with physicians to find underlying health issues and then design a suitable rehabilitation program.
Taking up exercise yourself may exacerbate the problem. So, before you begin an exercise regime, we recommend consulting with a physiotherapist.
In short, a physiotherapist can help office workers in the following ways:
- Injury prevention and rehabilitation.
- Improve motion
- Recommend a personalized exercise regime.
Physiotherapy treatment for office injuries
Depending on the damage, a physiotherapist may employ any of the following treatments or a combination.
- Exercise therapy to increase strength and flexibility while also reducing pain.
- Aqua/hydrotherapy: rehabilitate joints and muscles.
- Soft tissue techniques: pain reduction and to increase mobility.
Recommended physiotherapy exercises for injured office workers
Note that physiotherapy for injuries is patient-specific because injuries are not the same. That means the recommended exercise regime will be based on the nature of your injury. For example, if you suffered a back injury. A physiotherapist may recommend pelvic tilts or bird dogs, whereas if it is a hamstring injury, expect hamstring curls and single-leg bridges.
The point is, if you employ the wrong exercise routine you may cause further injury and worsen your pain.
Physiotherapy for office workers and a cluster of conditions
As mentioned, staying seated for prolonged periods enhances the risk of several health issues. The risks include, High blood pressure, bad circulation, diabetes, and psychiatric illness.
Ten physio exercises you can do at your desk
All the factors above considered, and if you are in good health, that is no aches and pains that persist for more than a week, we recommend the following preventative exercises.
- Standing chest stretch: opens your chest and relaxes your shoulders, great at preventing rounded shoulders.
- Thoracic extension and rotations: prevent stiffness and slouching.
- Head side pulls and pull-downs: relieve stress and tension in the neck.
- Shoulder shrug: relieve stress and tension in the shoulders.
- Upper back stretch: improve circulation in the upper body.
- Torso stretch: improve posture.
- Neck stretches: relieve upper tension and headaches.
- Inner thigh stretches: relieve tightness and tension in your lower body.
- Wall press: straighten your back.
The last exercise is Practicing good posture. Good posture will help prevent a multitude of issues.
Method: there are plenty of tutorials on the internet, but we recommend practicing these exercises with a physiotherapist. Why? A physiotherapist understands your current physical condition and knows your limits, it is therefore safer.
In an office environment, your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and physical and mental issues is elevated.
By taking preventative measures such as consulting with a physiotherapist, you can lower your risk of injury, and if you have suffered an injury, a specialist can help rehabilitate your body and mind in the right way.
Physiotherapy can also help to lower your stress levels, make you more active, and it can help you relax. All these factors combine to make you healthier and improve your quality of life. If you are an employer, you can use physiotherapy to enhance employee health or motivate and increase productivity.
In short, a physiotherapist will help you:
- Recover from pain and aches.
- Prevent or manage pain
- A detailed assessment will help find the root cause of your issue.
- A personalized exercise routine will ensure that the issue does not get worse
At Pro-Fit Physio and Allied Health Centre, our specialist physiotherapist will work with you to train your body to regain its optimal posture and manage pain. The process includes a full postural assessment that will help design a strengthening or stretching regime just for you.