Neck pain and headaches have become a problem for many with millions of UK employees forced to find any table space they can while working from home during coronavirus lockdown. The addition of working from a laptop has also led to painful consequences due to the posture they promote. So what can you do to ease your pain at home?
- Sleep – the best sleep position to protect against back and neck pain
One osteopath insists potatoes are crucial to combating these ailments.
Stephen Makinde, clinical director of Perfect Balance Clinic, said: “We’ve seen an increase in the number of clients with neck problems and migraines associated with neck stiffness since the start of the coronavirus lockdown
“The problem relates to the upper back posture.
“When you are looking at a screen, if your line of sight is in line with it then you are fine.
“But if you are looking down, which you do when working on a laptop, what tends to happen is the head starts to hang forward and that puts a lot of strain on the upper back.
“This can often cause a burning sensation in the trapezius muscles and affects other muscles in the neck, the spine and the nerves.”
Perfect Balance Clinic, headquartered in London’s Harley Street, is offering online physio, osteopathy, rehabilitation and training sessions via Zoom and Facebook to help people through the issues surrounding lockdown, when they are unable to attend regular face-to-face appointments.
And Mr Makinde revealed one of the tips they give those suffering with neck pain is to raid their kitchen cupboards or fridge – and dig out two potatoes.
He explained: “Tennis balls are really useful for this, but most people don’t have tennis balls at home.
“So baking potatoes work well, too. You just sellotape them together and lie down flat, with the potatoes placed underneath the back of your head.
“Then you let the neck relax and that helps to reset the neck position and loosen the muscles. It’s so effective.
“This is a really easy and useful thing people can do at home to release their neck tension and the pressure around there themselves.”
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According to health insurance company Vitality’s Britain’s Healthiest Workplace survey, 34 percent of UK workers suffered from neck pain and the same number from shoulder pain in 2019.
With many people facing less than ideal working conditions at home, these numbers could be set to rocket.
The fact that most Brits are concerned about their job security also means they could battle on while suffering in silence, for fear of being laid off.
And that runs the risk of creating a ticking time bomb of neck, shoulder and migraine pain that could hit the UK economy just as it attempts to survive the post-coronavirus recession.
The NHS advises most neck pain only lasts a few weeks, and also things you can do yourself to ease it.
It recommends to:
- Take paracetamol or ibuprofen – or use ibuprofen gel on your neck
- Use a low, firm pillow
- Put heat or cold packs on your neck
- Try neck exercises
You should contact your GP if:
- Pain or stiffness doesn’t go away after a few weeks
- Painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen haven’t worked
- You’re worried about the pain
- You have other symptoms, like pins and needles or a cold arm – this could be something more serious
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