EXPERT PANEL MEMBER: Anisha Josh, Osteopath.
Anisha Joshi is an award winning celebrity Osteopath qualified from the British College of Osteopathic Medicine in London. Anisha has over 13 years experience providing bespoke osteopathic treatment from her clinics in London and Hertfordshire. As one of the very few female BAME Osteopaths in the UK, Anisha is passionate about educating adults and children on osteopathy and preventative care to avoid pain or injury later in life. Her holistic and educational approach has led to her treating celebrities such as musicians Professor Green, Lilly Allen and Rita Ora.
With so many of us now working from home, it is no wonder that there has been a rise in those suffering from back and joint pain. As part of our new Experts series, we have enlisted the advice of celebrity Ostepath, Anisha Joshi – she tells us how to avoid pain and injury when working from home.
“I had a patient who came into the clinic with recurrent headaches, neck pain and lower back pain. She has an active lifestyle and works in Central London but was told to work from home for the foreseeable future. She lives in a 1 bedroom flat with her boyfriend who had also been told to now work from home
Problem is, she does not have a home office set up so was using her work laptop on any surface she could find – usually a small dining table – for 6/7 hours a day! Because of a lack of routine, she would also take her lunch at her ‘work desk’ with just a 30 minute walk in the evening. With all of her meetings now online (which involved her looking straight forward at the screen intently for the most part of her working day) it was no surprise that her neck and upper back pain had gradually worsened. After reviewing her case history it transpired that she was also suffering from anxiety and had been clenching her jaw at night due to worrying about the future of her job. Things were getting bad – headaches occurring 2/3 times a week and her lower back pain waking her up at night time.
After I conducted a full orthopaedic and neurological examination I noted her neck and shoulders were very tight. She was struggling to relax and had a slight curvature in her spine which was leading to her weight bearing more onto her lower back when she worked.
Treatment consisted of relaxing her shoulder muscles, her jaw and her lower back – conducting a safe neck adjustment (neck crack) and pelvic alignment to release air and tension from the spine. This is done with specific massage techniques and gentle mobilisation of the spine and joints. I advised her to complete a foam rolling routine to help with muscle tightness, joint mobility and mindfulness to help with her anxiety.
During her second treatment she advised me that she was feeling 70% better and her headaches had reduced to once per week. I was able to offer her advice to set up her workstation more effectively which included lifting up her screen, putting pillows on her chair and setting an alarm to complete some neck stretches at regular intervals – this helped to reduce the stiffness and pain in her neck. At her third treatment she was 100% better with no symptoms at all. She had the knowledge to help manage her pain herself and had even stopped feeling anxious due to the mindfulness techniques that I also implemented during treatment. “
If you think you might be having issues due to your work setup, here are a few tips…
Anisha’s Top 10 Working From Home Tips during Lockdown
1. Try to use a decent desk chair, that has arm rests, a back support and goes up and down.
2. Make sure your knees are not higher than your hips, they should be level or even a tiny bit higher than your knees to reduce pressure.
3. Bring your screen closer towards you, this encourages you to sit at the back of your chair and with better posture. 4. Do not cross your legs under your desk.
5. Do some gentle neck stretches at your desk every hour. Neck pain has become more prevalent in my patients because when they have meetings on zoom they literally don’t have to move their head anymore.
6. Use a GLASS of water and NOT a bottle. Using a glass will encourage you to get up to refill it and therefore keep you moving.
7. Try to set an alarm every hour to walk around your living spaces 3 times slowly. Even if it’s a tiny space it will help keep your spine, joints and muscles from ceasing up.
8. If you have no option but to sit on a sofa or bed in order to work then use cushions/pillows to stack up your laptop to as close to eye level as possible.
9. Try and go for a walk outside after work or twice a day. People underestimate just how much they walk around the office compared to when they’re at home.
10. Stress can contribute to feeling muscle tension in your body. Try to implement mindfulness into your morning routine or journaling before bed.