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April 2 2022

Back to work? Back to back pain? Acupuncture can help

After nearly two years of on-and-off lockdown and seeing the streets empty of the constant tide of human traffic ebbing and flowing to and from offices, shops and other places of work, it’s been a bit strange seeing our urban centres coming back to life over the last four months.

The lockdown months affected different people in different ways. For many, the opportunity to get off the daily treadmill of commuting into a formal working environment was very welcome.

Those who thrive in the company of others found the experience isolating and many reported a decline in their mental and emotional wellbeing as a result.

And then there were those who were separated either by illness or through shielding.

But our enforced home working also sparked other, physical wellness issues.

By early 2021, for example, the internet was crammed full to bursting with advice and tips on how to avoid what became known as ‘lockdown back pain’ as kitchen chairs and tables replaced more ergonomically sound and custom-designed office furniture.

Many of us spent months hunched over staring into video screens whilst forgetting to unmute ourselves (‘You’re on mute’ is officially the most-used phrase globally in the last two years, by the way).

Now, as we arrive back at our desks, either full time or as part of a hybrid working arrangement, the change of environment has rekindled musculoskeletal pain for a great many people whose transition to a ‘new’ working configuration demands their bodies bend in ways that have been alien to them for 24 months.

Luckily, acupuncture is here to help you overcome the new collection of musculoskeletal aches and pains that the ‘living with Covid’ era may have brought.

What is musculoskeletal pain?

As the name suggests, musculoskeletal pain is any type of discomfort you feel in your bones (skeleton) or muscles, tendons, joints or ligaments (the ‘musculo-‘ element).

Perhaps counterintuitively, though, the symptoms of musculoskeletal problems don’t just manifest in pain or discomfort like stiffness and general aches. People who suffer with musculoskeletal issues also report experiencing fatigue, muscle spasms, and poor sleep.

Where ergonomics are involved, you may have mild to severe lower back pain, pain of discomfort in the neck and shoulders, RSI or wrist issues relating to your carpal tunnels.

How can acupuncture help with ergonomic pain

As one of the oldest known ancient Chinese treatments being practised today, acupuncture has long been associated with musculoskeletal pain relief.

But because it’s an holistic – or whole body – treatment it brings other benefits as well – such as reducing stress (which can exacerbate ergonomic pain, because it generates physical tension in the affected area) and improving sleep quality.

Acupuncture works by stimulating the body’s energy points of the body to encourage increased blood flow and natural healing of inflammation, which is what causes the musculoskeletal pain you experience.

It also helps the body to respond naturally through an improved immune system. By increasing the production of the natural steroid cortisol and the endorphins, which are a biological painkiller, the body is able to reduce pain and swelling faster and more efficiently.

In acupuncture the energy points are stimulated through the painless insertion of superfine needles into the skin at specific strategic points. These are all associated with the body’s major organs to promote healing at source.

Permanent change for long term health

Of course, it’s no use just fixing your back or other musculoskeletal pain, only for you to just go away and have all those problems recur over time because you’re using the same equipment in the same way.

We’d always recommend easing yourself back into a fully active lifestyle to ensure your body has time to fully heal.

But if your working environment is contributing to a decline in your physical health we’d strongly encourage you to raise this issue with your manager or HR professional and explore the possibility of a workstation assessment that may result in you being given ergonomically appropriate equipment to work with.

If you’d like to find out more about acupuncture for back pain and how we can help you to recover more quickly and more efficiently, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.

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