Six in 10 suffer musculoskeletal pain from poor homeworking practices

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Nearly two-thirds (63%) of staff have injured their back, neck, hips, knees or wrists as a result of poor homeworking practices and a lack of suitable equipment.

This is according to health insurer Bupa, which found employees without a proper desk and adjustable chair at home are spending hours per day slumped over their kitchen table, balancing their laptop of the arm of their sofa or twisting their legs in order to get comfortable.

Just 32% of the 2,003 UK adults polled by Opinum had a dedicated workspace at home. People aged 18-34 were the most likely to experience pain; they were the least likely to have a simple desk and a chair with a backrest, and were twice as likely to work from their bed as older workers.

Many staff said they often found themselves hunching (24%), slouched or slumping (18%), or sitting with their back or their legs twisted (10%).

When asked whether they experienced pain or an injury as a result of home working, 30% said they had experienced back pain, 22% neck pain, 16% wrist, hand, arm pain, 15% hip pain,  and 12% knee pain.

Only a tenth (11%) had sought medical help, with the majority using over-the-counter painkillers or ice baths to relieve pain. More than a quarter (28%) had done nothing to relieve their pain at all.

“When social distancing measures were introduced many workers were thrust into working from home to keep them safe, with little time to prepare their workspaces. So it’s concerning, but perhaps not surprising, to see that so many are now struggling with their musculoskeletal health,” said Damian McClelland, clinical director for musculoskeletal services at Bupa UK Insurance.

“As we move towards the ‘new normal’ where higher levels of working from home are likely to feature [with 42% of respondents stating they will likely work from home more], it’s really important to address any pain or discomfort now, to make this sustainable in the long term.”

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