Also Now in Arabic! متوفرة الآن بالعربيةView the Arabic Site

ExpertHealthMoving more is the natural cure for back pain

Back, neck or hip pain is a common complaint from office workers. Abu Dhabi-based physio Amy Gilbert explains why movement is the best cure.
Amy GilbertFebruary 23, 202326 min
عرض المقال بالعربية
physio painPhoto courtesy Amy Gilbert.

Do you suffer from back, shoulder or neck pain? Workplace stress? Just plain old stress? Or maybe you feel fatigued and lethargic? Not motivated to go to the gym, or even head out for a walk?

If you answered yes to one or more than one of the above, you are not alone. Some 70 percent of my clients have such complaints.

And, while I’m happy to treat anyone who needs help, there is a simple – and much less costly – solution to the problem than going to see a physio: Get moving.

The modern sedentary lifestyle

Fun fact: for every 25 years a person spends working an office or desk job, they will spend an astonishing five years sitting down at a desk. That’s an awfully long time to be sitting still, and that’s not even counting the hours you spend sprawled on the couch after work, or travelling in the car.

The new home-working trend has arguably made our lifestyles even more sedentary. Remote workers often go straight from their beds to their desks, and likely have less far to walk for coffee and bathroom breaks. They don’t even get to stretch their legs with a stroll to the car park at the beginning and the end of the day.

Of course, it is possible to modify your desk setup so it’s more ergonomically correct. You can also sit on a Swiss ball or get a standing desk. But, in reality, few people will make these simple changes.

Instead, my number one piece of advice is always movement.

Movement is key

I recommend that office or desk workers should  get up every 20 to 30 minutes, even if it involves just standing up and sitting down on the spot, walking to confer with a colleague instead of emailing, or moving around while on the phone.

These simple adjustments can help relieve many workplace injuries, including back and neck pain, and repetitive strain injuries. Movement also reduces the production of cortisol (the stress hormone that encourages lethargy), and improves the response of your immune system.

Of course, physiotherapy can help, too. A complete assessment – including posture, workplace setup and range of movement – can uncover the true cause of a person’s pain. Your  physio may decide to prescribe a combination of manual work on soft tissues and joint mobilization, or a combination of dry needling, acupuncture, stretching and heat and ice treatment.

Just as importantly, you will need to complement the physio’s work by doing exercises in your own time, and adjust your workspace to suit your body’s needs.

Pain doesn’t have to be tolerated

Being told to move more is not always what my clients want to hear, but believe me it does work.

Pain does not have to be a permanent part of your life, provided you get moving. If you can make small efforts to move more on a daily basis, you can reduce injury, save money on healthcare and treatment, and improve your overall quality of life.

Amy Gilbert is a member of the expert panel. She is a physiotherapist and founder of Perfect Balance Rehabilitation Centre at Tamouh Tower, Reem Island.

To find out more, follow Amy on Instagram @agilbertphysio.

Amy Gilbert

The owner of Perfect Balance in Reem Island’s Tamouh Tower, after graduating Amy spent several years working for the National Health Service in the UK. Amy specializes in physiotherapy for women and is also a rehabilitation pilates instructor. When Abu Dhabi’s top pilates and yoga teachers get injuries, Amy is who they see.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *