Working from Home

Omphysio Service

“Working from home” or WFH as it is more popularly known, is a rising phenomenon embraced as an alternate work lifestyle. While some are new to the concept and constantly trying to eek the most of their home resources; there are some others who are adept with their ergonomic home-office mode. In both cases, the vast mental / physical challenges met are very individual and home environments are fundamentally unique.

Ergonomic principles are framed as per task, individual and environment. A quick google search does yield massive information on best practices on working from home. Our role as specialist physiotherapists is prescribe postural guidelines that suit you best – depending on your previous and present back condition, physical fitness and strength, work pattern, home environment, stressors, coping strategies and other influencers.

Role of posture and mobility

The sedentary demands of today’s era have reduced the overall routine physical activity levels in majority of the population. Lack of movement influences our digestive system, endocrinal system, neuro-musculoskeletal system as well as cardio-respiratory fitness.

It is common to have some soreness in the back or neck (text-neck syndrome) as well as work related syndromes affecting the arms, wrists and hands. Poor postural habits contribute to 90% of spinal problems today. Appropriate postural habits can prevent recurrent flare-ups and worsening of pre-existing spinal problems. This can be achieved by having a good understanding of one’s spine, regular strengthening exercises and adhering to self-management techniques individualised for you.

Engaging in recreational fitness activities has numerous physical health benefits. Youtube videos and online exercises are fantastic way to strengthen muscles and stretch adequately. It is recommended to be mindful of one’s functional abilities and pace up gradually. Furthermore, it is best to focus on exercises which are specifically designed to suit your flexibility and strength levels.

It is also worth remembering that few hours of such activities per week cannot completely offset the impact of being sat down for lengthy hours. Experts recommend regular movement breaks planned after every 30-45minutes. These may include appropriate stretches, breathing exercises, change in sitting position and when possible, going for a brisk walk.

Health aspects which are commonly missed out

  • Vision: Constant staring predisposes us to visual problems. Gaze exercises can help you retrain your eye muscles and prevent any lasting damages.
  • Breathing: Sometimes, unknowingly, we do hold our breaths when working on key issues at work. This can be trained back by practicing relevant breathing exercises.
  • Holding stress: Clenching the jaws and hunching the shoulders are next common mechanisms we deploy when stressed. These, in turn, manifest as neck and back problems when continued over a long time. Refresh your postural strategies and do indulge in frequent mini-breaks.
  • Drinking water: It is important to ensure a good hydration as water makes up 80% of our body composition. Wee breaks are not just vital but also give us a good reason to be up and about.
  • Burn-out: While recreational activities and exercises help us train our musculo-skeletal system; they may not effectively alleviate mental fatigue. Mindfulness activities and meditation practices revive and rejuvenate our inner state of mind.
  • Well-being: Prioritising and pacing our daily life activities can lessen our loads in a meaningful and reassuring manner. Do make sure your off-screen time includes mini-breaks where you can ruminate and trouble-shoot any potential teething troubles.

When do you need professional guidance?

Personalities, work-tasks, environmental demands and fitness levels together make each person unique. Prescriptions need to be personalized to meet the specific needs for people with emerging back problems or pre-existing conditions.

Our physiotherapists conduct a comprehensive subjective assessment including your complete history, medical condition, current symptoms, functional abilities, occupational nuances and goals. Based on this information, we undertake a thorough objective assessment of your general posture, fitness, neuro-muscular strength, cardo-respiratory fitness, neuro-muscular endurance and work-station assessment. This enable us to prescribe appropriate postural advice, possible ergonomic work-station modifications and specific exercises to progressively improve your flexibility and strength.

We can help you in person as well through video sessions, in lieu with the current pandemic situation. For further queries and additional information, feel free to contact us and you will be guided by one of our senior physiotherapists.

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