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It has been more than two years since Australians were told to pack up their desks and work from home, yet according to Osteopathy Australia, two-thirds of those who work remotely still do not have a dedicated, ergonomic home office space.

Despite the work life balance benefits of working from home, the ergonomic set-up of home offices – or lack thereof – is now being linked to a rise in pain. With a quarter of Australians now experiencing pain or discomfort in their body because of their day-to-day work and almost half of desk workers having a recurring niggle or pain, experts are urging them to take preventive action and seek treatment now.

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President of Osteopathy Australia, Dr Michelle Funder, encouraged Australians to consider whether their home workspace needed improvement and to seek help if they are struggling with pain.

“This research is very concerning to see, it’s shining a light on the bad habits Aussies have developed while working from home – they’re moving less by spending almost all of their day in front of their computer and with the majority not having an adequate home office set-up,” Dr Funder said in a statement.

“Excessive sitting or a sedentary posture can aggravate an existing painful condition and can lead to the onset of new conditions such as neck or back pain, headaches and upper limb injury.


Integral Diagnostics
Care Manager
Frontline Health Brisbane

“In osteopathy, we consider the person as a whole, including their pain, general health and wellbeing, lifestyle, ergonomics and posture and then work with people to develop a personalised treatment plan to help them keep working and doing the things they love,” she said.

Worryingly, many Australians are waiting until their pain is unbearable before seeking professional help from their GP or allied health professionals, such as osteopaths.

When IT engineer Dave Payne started working from home, he soon noticed a pain developing in his neck. “I had worked in IT for 16 years before the lockdown and although it’s technically a desk job, I was still quite active during the day – I’d be up and moving during my train commute, in between meetings and when out working on client sites,” Dave said in an official statement from Osteopathy Australia.

“But this all stopped once I started working from home – I probably spent all day in front of the computer for two years, I stopped exercising and my posture was terrible due to poor office ergonomics.”

“I started to feel this unbearable pain in my neck and when I sought treatment from an osteopath, I discovered I had an acute neck injury from a disk bulge which landed me in a neurosurgeon’s office.”

“I was worried that I’d need surgery, but thankfully I started to improve after appointments with an osteopath every two weeks and referral to weekly appointments with an exercise physiologist.”

“I am so lucky that it was caught early, it could have been so much worse if I had waited to get help. Now, after changing my office ergonomics and receiving regular treatment, I am feeling so much better and have been able to avoid more invasive interventions,” he said.


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Charlotte Mitchell

Charlotte is a published journalist and editor, with 10 years of experience in developing high-quality content for national and international publications.

With an academic background in both science and communications, she specialises in medical and science writing. Charlotte is passionate about creating engaging, evidence-based content that equips the community with important information on issues around healthcare, medicine and research.

Over the years, she has partnered with organisations including the Medical Journal of Australia, Cancer Council NSW, Bupa, the Australasian Medical Publishing Company, Dementia Australia, MDA National, pharmaceutical companies, and state and federal government agencies, to produce high-impact news and clinical content  for different audiences.