Back to work

Summer holidays have come to an end and most of us at back at school or work. The weather is changing and becoming colder and the nights are drawing in. At this time it becomes harder to be active in the evenings after work and after any summer break there is work to be done, which often means long working hours.

You may be sitting at a desk or in a car, standing in a shop or factory floor, or doing repetitive manual handling and lifting.

In any profession it is important to look after you body by keeping it moving and your mind but allowing yourself regular short breaks from your work. On my recent holiday to France they were doing just this, in a service station! We visited a service station that provided exercise machines outside, which were designed to mobilize the joints in the body after a long car journey. It looked like a playground for adults! The machines were designed to target different areas of the body. However, the design concentrated on moving the spine in different directions.

We can take inspiration from this fresh, forward thinking initiative and apply it to the way we use our bodies at work. Static postures where certain muscles are continually contracted in one position can cause postural fatigue of the muscle, which can lead to pain. Getting up and moving around for just a few minutes during your day can reduce this fatigue. Useful tips include:

 -  Moving around and stretching muscles before they ache, perhaps take a quick stroll around where you work.

-  As a rule of thumb most research shows that taking a 2-3 minute break every 20 minutes is best.

 -  A break can also be a change in posture – alternate between using your computer with manual tasks such as filing or making phone calls.

 -  Take visual breaks – Follow the rule of 20’s: every 20 minutes, look 20 foot away for about 20 seconds.

 -  Visual reminders such as notes on your computer or diary application on your phone can be used to pop up and routinely remind you to take a quick break.

At Open Circle Osteopathy we can provide more advice on posture at work, including using a laptop and basic computer workstation ergonomics.

Some people however may develop specific problems and in some cases muscle tension may become chronic and pain sensitive.

This is where we can help release tension with hands on manual techniques and by providing a specific exercise programme.

This empowers us to take the health of our musculoskeletal system and our wellbeing into our own hands.