Physio tips for office workers
04.29.19|Posted by Jacek Garbacz

6 tips for office workers to beat the aches and pains

Jacek Garbacz is an Ascenti Physiotherapist based in Plymouth and East Cornwall. In this article Jacek provides some practical advice about how office workers can stop pain before it starts with simple stretches and small changes. 

As our world has evolved the nature of how we work and the way we live has as well. 

We move much less than the generations before us and many people have computer or desk-based jobs, which typically require long periods of sitting. 

Patients often come to me with general tension, stiffness and pain around the neck and shoulder areas, which sometimes transfers down their arms and hands. 

Those who experience back pain and particularly pain in the lower back also report feeling that their pain increases after a long day at work. 

Here are six ways that you can stop pain before it starts and balance your desk based job with a healthy lifestyle. 

Motion is lotion

I have this saying that ‘motion is lotion’ for your body. 

If you have a desk-based job then you need to make a conscious effort to build movement and activity into your day. 

Exercise classes are great, but if you are not a gym goer and this isn’t for you then there are also basic changes that you can make. 

Something as simple as walking part of the way into the office or replacing your bus journey with cycling to work can make a real difference. 

It can also help to make time for activity at the weekends, for example going for a walk with the family or swimming. 

Take a break and stand up 

Employers are more invested in the wellbeing of staff than ever before and understand that you need to get up and move around. 

There is no harm in making a cup of tea or taking a short break outside for a moment, letting your manager know if you need to. You should aim to do this every two hours. 

Too many people eat lunch at their desks or sit down looking at their phones. Just a short 15-minute walk to the shop on your lunch break can be really beneficial for your body. 


Do what you need to do to make your desk and office environment work for you. 

Most companies will offer a desk assessment, which may include postural advice or suggestions about adjustments that you can make. If not, you could always make suggestions to your manager. 

Sometimes small changes like reorganising your desk or putting photos up can help you to feel more positive about work, which can make a difference to your physical wellbeing as well. 

Stress less 

Many desk-based jobs come with tough commutes, targets and demands that can encourage you to tense throughout the day. 

If your mind is stressed then your muscle tone and tensions will increase, particularly in the upper arms, neck, hips and lower back. Stress and anxiety also increase your feeling of pain.

If you can feel yourself becoming very tense at your desk, take a break from your screen and step outside. Take a deep breath in for eight seconds and then breathe out for ten seconds – repeat this as many times as you need to relax. 

Make time to relax once you get home and in the evenings, for example by taking a warm bath, attending a yoga class or making time to do something that you enjoy. 

Read more about how to stress less here

Move at home 

Take some time to stretch out any areas of tension in the evenings and before you go to bed. 

See a physiotherapist 

If you have a nagging pain that’s affecting you at work or throughout the day then speak to a physiotherapist. 

Manual therapies such as soft-tissue massage and joint mobilisation can be highly effective in treating common complaints and pain experienced by office workers.

Your physiotherapist will be able to identify any underlying causes before developing a personalised treatment plan with you. 

This may include lifestyle advice and exercise therapy that you can complete at home to prevent future problems from returning. 

Ascenti is here to answer your questions around why physiotherapy is so important to your overall health and wellbeing. Find out more about our ethos and treatments we can offer you.

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