Arthritis: How to avoid the onset of the joint condition while working from home
ARTHRITIS is a painful chronic condition that affects millions of people in the UK. Working from home has resulted in more people experiencing chronic pain. Express.co.uk talked to Physiotherapist Sammy Margo, to find out how you can reduce your chances of developing the condition.
By CHRISTOPHER SHARP FOR THE DAILY EXPRESS 04:00, Sun, Jan 16, 2022 “Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin” A phrase out of time, specifically out of the BBC Radio programme ‘Listen with Mother’, a radio show for pre-school children first broadcast in January 1950. What does this have to do with arthritis?Quite a lot is the answer, because this is a question you should genuinely be asking yourself every day as you sit down to work from home.
Since the pandemic began, nearly two years ago, working from home has become the norm. From lawyers to advertisers, from bankers to writers, we have all, at various stages, been told to work from home. Like the lockdowns, social distancing and furlough, working home has had an impact on all of us, on our bodies as well as our minds Express.co.uk spoke to physiotherapist Sammy Margo who said: “Unequivocally, there is a connection between an increase in pain and an increase in discomfort as a result of the past two years.”
Margo explained: “There's research showing an increase in the incidence of neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, and a bunch of arthritic conditions”. The symptoms of these arthritic conditions have been intensified by psychological factors too. Margo says these conditions have been “amplified by a layer of stress and uncertainty which I think is a huge contributing factor to the whole picture." This is because stress, says Margo “releases cortisol. And when you release cortisol, the stress hormone that can produce chronic inflammation and pain”.
These come at a time when over 10 million people in the UK have arthritis, says the NHS. However, as with a lot of conditions, there are steps we can take to reduce our risk. Sammy Margo has some suggestions on this front including: • Posture • Making sure that you move around within often throughout the day, • Having a standing desk • Making sure that your workstation is set up appropriately. Whilst these are recommendations, not everyone is in the position to be able to make these changes as thousands around the country may not have the space or financial wherewithal. A lot of people, including students, have been working out of their bedrooms, on the kitchen table and balancing this with childcare requirements. This potential arthritis crisis is most affecting people in their 20s, 30s and 40s with Margo commenting: “In the 20s, 30s and 40s there's been a huge upsurge in people working from home, we know that a large percentage of them have increasingly been experiencing problems”. Another factor that is contributing to the rise in joint pain amongst these younger age groups alongside stress and poor working positioning is their sleeping position, according to Margo.