British Chiropractic Association launches new videos for life at home
With life under lockdown continuing to evolve, and many people still working from home, British Chiropractic Association member Owain Evans has produced a series of new videos sharing tips and tricks about how people can better look after their back health and wellbeing. Owain (36) is from Cardiff and has a clinic called Backspace, based in Clapham. At his clinic he combines hands-on treatment using a range of diverse techniques, with bespoke exercise programmes to correct the cause of the problem and prevent recurring symptoms. His videos have been designed in a bitesize format, so people only need a few spare minutes to tune in.
Owain said: “The last few months have brought unprecedented challenges to our every day lives. We’ve all had to adapt to new restrictions and whilst some are easing, there’s no doubt we will have to manage changes to our lives for some time yet. During this time the physical and mental toll on our health and wellbeing shouldn’t be underestimated. As a chiropractor, many of my clients have experienced increased tension and pain resulting from life under lockdown, so I wanted to create a few videos sharing advice on the common themes I’ve seen.
“Over and above these videos, if you’re ever experiencing persistent back pain or mobility issues, you should always seek the advice of your GP or other health professional.”
Preventing back pain if you’re working from home
“Working from home can lead to aches and pains in the neck, shoulders, lower back and even your jaw. Usually this is due to people working from spaces which aren’t designed for a full day’s work, making it difficult to maintain a good upright posture, which is what our spine needs.
“My top tip is to choose your workspace wisely – if you don’t have a desk, try to avoid working from the sofa or bed, as anything soft won’t support your back properly. Keeping these spaces strictly for relaxation will also help create differentiation between work and leisure time.
“Make sure you also have a chair which has good back support – if you don’t have a desk chair, try sitting with a cushion again the back of your chair and sit with your back fully against it. It’s important not to slouch forward over your desk space, as this will put extra pressure on your upper back.
“Vary your work position too – a good trick is to use your kitchen surfaces or an ironing board, so you can work standing up for a while. Try moving around every 20 to 30 minutes to shake off tension – our spines love movement!
The impact anxiety has on the body
“During lockdown more and more people are reporting increased feelings of stress and anxiety, with many experiencing physical symptoms as a result, or an increase in pain for pre-existing conditions. Our bodies have a physiological ‘fight or flight’ response, which releases cortisol and adrenaline, preparing our body to fight or runaway. The challenge we have within our current lives, is that we can’t necessarily remove the root cause of this response – the world at large. This can therefore build up tension in our muscles and joints, because we don’t have an outlet to relieve these feelings.
“You can’t always remove the source of stress, but you can reduce its physical impact by using techniques like controlled breathing, muscle relaxation and mental calming techniques. Exercise is also one of the best forms of reducing the physical symptoms of stress, but try gentler activities like Tai Chi, yoga or Pilates, as high impact exercise can cause your body to produce more adrenaline.
“Back pain in itself can also cause anxiety, which then creates a cycle, so always seek the advice of a health professional if you have any symptoms which persist for more than a couple of weeks.”
Pottering about the house – how to keep your back and joint mobile
“With us moving firmly into the summer months and lockdown giving us more time at home, many of us are taking on DIY projects, or looking at the household chores we don’t get to so often. However, it’s important to think about your body before taking on projects, as jumping into strenuous activity can cause back pain.
“Before you start any DIY, gardening, or cleaning, try to think about it as a form or exercise. It’s really important to warm up, so give your muscles a gentle stretch before you begin, to help avoid any strain. I would also recommend tackling one project at a time, focusing on the small tasks first so by the time you reach the bigger jobs you’re fully warmed up. Take regular breaks and stay hydrated, especially if you’re working in the garden on a hot day.
“Avoid stooping on lower surfaces – a great tip is to use a footstall, with one foot leant on it so you can angle your weight forward. For gardening I’d recommend kneeling on a spongy mat or surface, so you’re putting less pressure on your back and joints. Most importantly, take regular breaks, so you’re not in one posture for too long.”
For more helpful videos visit the British Chiropractic Association’s YouTube page on: https://www.youtube.com/user/BritChiroAssoc