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Work from home set up caused spike in injuries

Photo: Spike in injuries caused by work-from-home
Makeshift work-from-home set-ups are being blamed for a spike in neck, shoulder and back injuries presenting to physiotherapists and chiropractors.

Working from the kitchen table or bench during the coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on Australian necks, shoulders and backs.

Chiropractors across the country began noticing an increase in work-related injuries within two weeks of the start of the lockdown, Australian Chiropractors Association President Dr Anthony Coxon told AAP.

"In addition to the more common neck and shoulder complaints, we're certainly getting a lot of those repetitive strain type of injuries," he said.
One of two key problems is that people are often working from set-ups that strain their muscles.

Some people's well-meaning desk set-ups can actually be worse than working from bed or the couch, physiotherapist and workplace safety specialist David Hall says.

"The main challenge that people have when they're working on a computer is having their head poked forward like a turtle," he told AAP.

"At least in most situations when they're in bed or on the couch they tend to have their head back and supported."

"For every two and a half centimetres that your head goes forward past your shoulders, it doubles the strain of the muscles in the back of the neck," Dr Coxon added.

Having a supportive chair and a desk at a suitable height to avoid hunching your shoulders is critical, they say.

Dr Coxon also says the fact that people are sitting for longer is causing or exacerbating injuries.

"Sitting is now being called the new smoking.

"That's because sitting can not only cause spinal problems, but it's also an independent risk factor for type two diabetes, obesity, heart disease and even some types of cancer," he said.

"It's really critical that you get out of your chair often. At least every 30 minutes you should be having a quick walk and a little stretch to move the body."

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