How to avoid pains and strains during lockdown

As the coronavirus pandemic unfolds and we keep ourselves updated with the news, it is easy to get consumed with fear and worry. Don’t forget to balance the news you are listening to with positive stories as well. For example, the recovery rate is nearly 4 times higher than the death rate as well as some people not developing any harsh symptoms at all. 

Settle your mind and give your immune system a boost by eating more fruit and veg, exercising, getting enough sleep, taking supplements, managing stress etc. We are lucky that we are living in a digital age that allows us to see our friends and family virtually. Let’s keep our minds focused on the positive. In this month’s blog, we are going to share with you some tips you can implement to keep your body in a good condition during the lockdown.

Now that we are staying home to avoid the spread of the virus and the sun has been beautifully showing itself, you may be dedicating more time to your garden. Here’s what you can do to avoid getting a back injury:

  • If you are lifting or putting down something heavy, mimic a squat. Remember to bend your knees and keep your back straight – don’t curve it!
  • Wear a belt with your gardening tools attached.
  • Make narrow flower beds so you don’t have to reach too far.
  • Use a hose instead of a watering can.

We go into more detail of what gardeners can do to avoid a back injury in this blog, follow the link to read more tips.

At the moment, it is impossible to visit an osteopath (unless you live with one), so if you have strained your back and are experiencing pain, here are some helpful things you can do at home:

  • Ice the affected area to reduce inflammation and numb the pain.
  • If the pain or strain is muscular, use heat to relax the muscles.
  • Exercise helps awaken and activate the muscles.
  • Mobilise and stretch to release tension.
  • Ensure your workstation is correctly set up.
  • Practise correct posture.
  • Use a mattress and pillow that properly supports your body.
  • Place a pillow under your knees when sleeping on your back.
  • Reduce stress.

For more information on these points, read our blog

It is possible that spending more time at home may be causing you to experience more pain and stiffness. If this sounds like you, here’s what you can do:

  • Move around, go for regular walks.
  • Don’t spend all day sitting!
  • Exercise at least twice a week.
  • When using a computer keyboard or laptop, ensure your hands are in line with your elbows, arms should be positioned at roughly 90 degrees.
  • Mobilise and stretch!

The majority of us are now working from home which can be great, we get to spend more time with our families and even work from our gardens on a sunny day. However, if your workstation ergonomics aren’t right, you could cause yourself serious pain and injury. Here are some helpful pointers for you to remember when working from home:

  • Don’t slouch! Keep your back straight.
  • Hold your head back and chin tucked in.
  • Your ears, shoulders and hips should all be in one straight line.
  • If your chair does not provide support to your lower back, place a pillow there.
  • Your feet should be positioned flat on the floor.
  • Your eyes should be level with the top third of the computer screen.
  • Remember to keep your shoulders pulled down, away from your ears.
  • Take breaks every 30 minutes!

If you don’t apply the above pointers when working, your suboccipital muscles can severely tighten. These muscles are found at the base of the skull and can tighten up because of bad posture, stress, eye strain and other factors that cause you to keep your head pushed forward. When these muscles tighten up, it creates neck pain as well as headaches. Here is what you can do to release tension in these muscles:

  • Massage the area.
  • Place a tennis ball, softball or TriggerPoint ball on the muscles and gently lie on it.
  • Stretch. There are many stretches that can help relieve tension in these muscles, e.g. the chin tuck; push your chin into your neck, release and repeat.

As we are staying home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, it is likely that we are spending far more time sitting down. Sitting for extended periods of time can be damaging to our bodies, especially if we are sitting with bad posture. It is likely that our sofas are too soft to properly support our backs and that is understandable, who wants a rock-hard sofa? So, here is what you can do to prevent getting a back injury from too much sitting:

  • Ensure your feet are planted on the ground.
  • Support your back with extra pillows so you are sitting straight.
  • Break up the time you spend sitting down.
  • Go for daily walks.
  • Exercise at least twice a week.
  • Stretch and mobilise.

It is likely that we are also spending more time on our mobile devices. Make sure you are not falling victim to “text neck”, here is what you can do:

  • Hold the device higher.
  • Keep your neck straight, don’t bend it forward.
  • Take breaks.
  • Improve your posture.
  • Stretch and mobilise. 
  • Useful stretches include the cat-cow, chin tuck, ear to shoulder and gently tilting the head back and forward.
  • Exercise regularly.

If you have any further questions on these points, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Stay home and stay safe! 

Photo by Hello I’m Nik 🎞 on Unsplash

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