Lancashire-based massage therapist and founder of YOLO Wellbeing, Cheryle Britton, shares her tips to help you avoid musculoskeletal injuries whilst working from home.
In a recent home working survey, YOLO Wellbeing, found that 60 per cent of home workers are using makeshift stations at home, and as a result, over a third of employees are experiencing musculoskeletal injuries due to poor posture.
Poor posture is caused by the joints, muscles and vertebrae being in stressful positions for prolonged periods; which results in a build up of pressure on tissues, causing tension, aches and pains.
The ideal posture is to be at right angles. Back straight, Thighs at a right angle to your body, knees at a right angle to your thighs. Wrists straight and forearms at a right angle to your biceps. Your monitor needs to be at a reasonable height so you don’t have to physically bend your neck to view your screen.
You can adjust your position using a combination of books and cushions to help raise your
feet, seat or monitor, But if this doesn’t feel comfortable for you try a few of our top tips to prevent tension from creeping into your joints and muscles.
Here is a list of Cheryle’s top tips:
Tip One: keep your back straight
Wherever you are seated try and keep your back as straight as possible, and your monitor high enough so as you’re not bending your neck to view your screen,
Tip two : Take regular breaks
Getting up and changing your posture at regular intervals will alleviate the pressure on your joints, muscles and vertebrae. A 5min break after every 25mins of work is good for your health and your productivity,
Tip three: Stretch and mobilise your joints
When your joints are immobile for prolonged periods of time you get a build up of Fascia, the connective tissue that wraps around your muscles; which causes tightness and tension, and can lead to aches and pains.
By mobilising and stretching your joints: wrists, elbows, shoulders, waist, back, knees and ankles you help to clear the excess fascia, to relieve tension and make the movement of your joints feel freer.
And: Try this simple breathing exercise
Poor posture can also affect your breathing, try this simple breathing exercise to help correct your posture, relax and energise you.
Sit up straight and take in a deep breath, in through your nose. As you’re breathing in imagine the air going to the very top of your head. This will lengthen your neck, and your shoulders will drop. When you can take in no more air, hold it for a second or two.
Then exhale slowly through the mouth. Let your shoulders relax, but keep sitting up straight. Keep blowing until all the air is expelled from your lungs. Normally we shallow breathe which means we hold a lot of stagnant air in the bottom of our lungs. This exercise helps to remove it.
Take in another deep breath, in through your nose. This breathe should be deeper as you’ll be able to take in more, fresh air. Again imagine it filling up your body to the very top of your head. Hold, breathe it all out.
Do this three to four times. Then notice how much calmer and more relaxed you feel. The fresh air in your lungs will help you feel more energised and focused, ready to return to work.
Cheryle adds: “If you’re experiencing aches and pains, these tips can help ease them, and prevent musculoskeletal injury. However, if your symptoms continue, or get worse, it is recommended you seek medical advice. If left unchecked, what feels like a niggling ache now, can deteriorate into chronic pain, which takes much longer and is more difficult to correct.”
Cheryle Britton (pictured above) signed up to the Boost Growth Support Programme when she launched YOLO Wellbeing in September 2019, to help promote corporate wellbeing and massage to businesses across the Northwest of the UK.