Concern over increase in injuries among those working from home
A leading physiotherapist has highlighted the worrying increase in the number of patients presenting with injuries as a result of working from home.
Camilla Reilly, physiotherapy manager of the Hermitage Medical Clinic, says she is seeing a definite upswing in the number of people who are suffering from issues like back and neck problems, nerve pain, stiffness, headaches and other symptoms associated with working from home without proper equipment or advice.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, many workers have been forced to leave the office for most of the past year with over a third of the population working remotely from home, according to CSO figures.
An EU study last year found that Ireland has one of the highest rates of home working in Europe, and the situation is likely to remain unchanged for many months to come.
Though this has helped in the fight against Covid, physiotherapists in the Hermitage in Dublin say a growing number of patients are presenting with injuries caused by working in less-than-ideal conditions, with traditional office workers being worst affected.
“More and more patients are coming to us with serious health problems as a result of working from home,” Camilla Reilly said.
“We have seen a sharp increase in the number of patients with issues such as nerve pain, stiffness, headaches and much more besides, and it is mostly office workers who are being affected by this. Many people have been forced to set up make-shift desks at their kitchen tables, in their bedrooms or in any quiet space they can find free in the house.
“People with pre-existing conditions are experiencing increased difficulties, and some post-operative patients are taking longer to recover as a result of factors such as bad posture caused by the height of their desks, how their laptops are angled, or how they are sitting.”
Reilly and her colleagues in the Hermitage Physiotherapy Department have some simple tips and guidelines on how to prevent injuries by moving regularly, stretching properly and making some small changes to how or where remote workers sit and how their laptop is positioned. She is urging patients to get in touch with their physiotherapist if they feel they need treatment.
“We have remained open throughout Covid, and our team of expert physiotherapists in the Hermitage Medical Clinic are continuing to provide treatment, as well as providing ergonomic assessments and guidance about how work stations should be set up.
“We are doing everything that we can to reach more patients, and we are about to launch an online Pilates class aimed at reaching more people in need of treatment.
“The most important thing for people to realise - even in the midst of the Level 5 restrictions - is that it is vital for people to look after their physical and mental wellbeing. Effective physiotherapy is an important part of this, and our services are available to patients without any need for a referral by their doctor,” she concluded.