Getting the knots out…
I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time hunched over my laptop — or over the steering wheel — and so my poor old neck and back often end up feeling, inevitably all stiff and sore. And I end up feeling miserable. (Quick, send wine… or chocolate… sympathy just isn’t going to cut it.) It’s what we all do, though, isn’t it? Using a laptop just makes it all that much easier to work or surf anywhere — like, on the sofa in front of the telly, or on the dining room table, or in bed, wherever.
So, I booked into the Osteopathic Centre in Welwyn Garden City, having met Louise — one of the partners there — and complained to her about how creaky I was feeling. She suggested I book in, and I tell you — I feel a whole lot better for having done so.
Now, if you’re all about spa-style surroundings and luxury, then this just might not be the place for you. The Osteopathic Centre is based at Welwyn Rugby Club. Which looks, as you might expect, a lot like a rugby club. Their treatment room (into which the players rarely venture, having their own physio) is large and functional. What you do get, which you don’t get in a lot of more central locations, is masses of free parking — and no steps to get up or down if you’re hobbling or feeling a bit tender. Or if you have a buggy. The Centre has a ‘mother and baby’ osteopathy clinic, as well as treating adults and older children.
My treatment was great. A bit tender when she was working on the bag of golf balls that is my neck and shoulders — you want knots? I’ve got knots with knots on — but so much more relaxed and happier afterwards. And she was great in suggesting easy stretches I could do at home. I’m the worst person at following that sort of advice — particularly if it’s of the 3-times-a-day variety — but she got that. And the bits she gave me to try have been great. They take no time at all, but I’m noticing how much they help.
In an attempt not to seize up again, I asked Louise to share her top tips — her realistic tips — about working at home on the laptop….
1. Working from home with a laptop? It’s best to get the screen at eye level so your neck is kept in a neutral position. Maybe raise your laptop to eye level on some books or a laptop stand, and try using a separate keyboard.
2. Keeping your arms at 90 degrees with the forearms resting on the table will take away the stress from the upper shoulders and neck area. The keyboard should be placed in front of you enabling the wrists to remain in a neutral position.
3. For your lower back, roll up a towel to use as a lumbar support or sit on a small wedge or cushion to raise the hips slightly above the knees. This will (getting technical here…) stop the lumbar spine from slumping into flexion and placing further load into the area on the discs and ligaments. It’ll stop your lower back hurting.
4. Try to get up and move about every 30 minutes. A change of position will relieve muscle tension. Try some simple shoulder rolls to help with that neck and shoulder tension, even while you’re still sitting down. Doing them while walking around will help relieve compression to the lumbar spine. You’ll feel better all round.
5. If you are using a regular chair at home, see what you can do to make it more comfortable. If the chair is high, rest your feet on something — maybe a book? — so they don’t dangle. Don’t use a chair with a gap in the back for your spine to slump into. Try to find a seat with a proper back and sit right into the seat — don’t perch on the edge of the chair.
Need a bit of attention? Mention Muddy Herts and get 20% off your initial consultation and first treatment at the Osteopathic Centre. You’ll be glad you did….