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Our Physiotherapy team’s tips on getting those new-found aches and pains in check

Consultant News

Maintaining healthy joints and muscles: adapting to our new daily norms

On Monday 23rd of March 2020, the UK Government implemented lockdown to help fight the spread of COVID-19. With this came changes to daily lives such as working from home, which is new territory for many of us and it is important that you are doing all you can to keep well, both physically and mentally. It is quite common to develop new aches and pains in your neck, shoulders and back because you are adapting to working in a new, temporary environment, which is not always set up to be used for extended periods of time.

Here at St John and St Elizabeth Hospital we recognise the impact that this can have on people’s lives and we therefore wanted to share some useful advice and tips to help you stay healthy and take care of yourself.

Top tips for maintaining healthy joints and muscles:

  1. Move as regularly as possible. This means getting up every 45 to 60 minutes. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to get up and change positions.
  2. Try not to sit on the sofa – take the time to set up an adequate work area if you can.
  3. Try and keep to a normal working routine – make sure you take a lunch break, and when you work is done, shut down your laptop.
  4. Give the following exercises and stretches a go…they won’t take you too long! Try to do them as many times as you can throughout the day.

Exercises recommended by our expert Physiotherapy team

Neck movements

Slowly lower your chin to your chest and look down at the floor. Hold for a few seconds and return to the neutral starting position. Without turning the head, slowly tilt your head sideways to bring your ear to your shoulder. Return to the neutral position.

Repeat 5 times

Physiotherapy neck exercise chin upPhysiotherapy neck exercise chin down
Physiotherapy neck exercise tilted left                Physiotherapy neck exercise tilted right

Shoulder rolls

Roll your shoulders backwards in a circular movement bringing your shoulder blades together.

Repeat 10 times

Physiotherapy exercise shoulder roll forwardsPhysiotherapy exercise shoulder roll backwards

Thoracic trunk rotation

Sit tall and lock your hands together at chin height. Rotate to one side, driving your elbow backwards. Slowly return to the neutral position and repeat movement on the opposite side.

Repeat 10 times

Physiotherapy exercise thoracic trunk rotation rightPhysiotherapy exercise thoracic trunk rotation left

Lumbar trunk rotation

Stand with your arms crossed and rest them on your chest or hips. Slowly rotate to look behind you without bending or arching the lower back. Slowly return to the neutral position and repeat movement on the opposite side.

Repeat 10 times

Physiotherapy exercise lumbar trunk rotation rightPhysiotherapy exercise thoracic trunk rotation left

Sit to stand

Sit on a chair that has been placed against a wall to prevent it from moving. Fold your arms across your chest. With your feet slightly apart, lean forward so your shoulders are over your feet and stand up fully. Slowly return to sitting.

Repeat 10 times

Physiotherapy exercise sitting on a chairPhysiotherapy exercise standing up from your chair

Heel raises

Stand up and place your hands on a chair for balance. Rise to your tiptoes without bending the knees. With controlled movement, return your feet to the starting position, flat to the ground and repeat.

Repeat 10 times

Physiotherapy exercise heels on the floorPhysiotherapy exercise heels raised

Self massage

Sitting down, hold the muscles at the top of your shoulder with a solid grip. Slowly move your shoulder up and down, forwards and backwards or in circular motions while firmly holding the muscles.

Tip: Do the same at other tender locations

Physiotherapy - preparing for self massagePhysiotherapy self massaging shoulder

How we can help

Although the advice and exercises provided above can be helpful, they do not intend to substitute the expert opinion of a healthcare professional. Therefore, if you feel you need further help, do not hesitate to contact our Physiotherapy department on 0207 806 4010. The team are still available to patients via virtual consultation.