Employees are now encouraged to use laptops at undesignated desk sites in the office or at home, called ‘hot desks’. It is also known as ‘Hot Desking’.
Unfortunately, laptops are poorly designed for use as the main work interface; if the laptop keyboard is in a good position to type, then the screen is far too low to view it properly. If you sit with your head bent forward looking down at a screen it will, in time, cause chronic neck pain and headaches: ‘Hot Desk Syndrome’
When treating Hot Desk Syndrome, I always advise my patients to request the following:
- A laptop stand, to raise the screen to a comfortable viewing height.
- A Trackball mouse
- A keyboard
- A footrest.
If you have to work at a ‘hot desk’ or if you have to travel to different offices, you could provide your own laptop stand, keyboard and mouse. They need not be too expensive to buy, or heavy to carry around and they will definitely help the health of your neck and shoulders.
If you want more information about Hot Desk Syndrome, or if you have pain and need treatment, please telephone the practice on 01926 335932.Learn More
Varifocals are a Jack-of-all-trades and master of none!
Although many people find that Varifocals improve their lives tremendously, there are two large groups of people who can have real problems with them:
Computer and Laptop use.
The lower part of the lens is for close work, such as, sewing or reading, but a computer screen is placed to be viewed straight ahead of you. You are then viewing it through the mid to long range part of the lens.
When using a computer or laptop, Varifocal users often tip their head backwards to be able to see the screen through the lower part of the lens, rather than just raise their eyes as they would normally do. Sitting with their head tipped back for long periods can cause neck pain and headaches.
This can be corrected by having a pair of Computer glasses just for keyboard work. The focal length can be optimised for seeing the screen and the keyboard clearly, by just moving the eyes up or down while keeping the head upright and in the correct postural alignment.
If you wear Varifocals and get you neck pain or headaches after using a computer, it might be helpful to get some glasses specifically for computer use. This can save you paying out for a lot of unnecessary treatments.
Walkers and those walking on slippery surfaces like icy pavements
As previously mentioned, the lower part of the lens in a Varifocal is designed for close up work like reading. Many people find that, when walking on a rough or slippery surface, they can’t see the ground clearly by just looking down with their eyes; they have to tip their head down to see the ground clearly. This can be uncomfortable and can make you more likely to fall – especially going downhill. This can mean that you can miss your footing as you can’t see where you are placing your feet, or you might miss a patch of slippery ice, as you won’t be able to see the shiny surface.
If you enjoy walking and hiking, it may be helpful to have Varifocals for that purpose, with the focal length at the bottom of the lens suitable for seeing the ground in front of you without having to tip your head down. This may make map reading a bit harder, but you could take a flat, plastic magnifier to help with that.
If you need to see the ground clearly when you walk, or have a fear of falling over – particularly if you have already fallen and broken a wrist or hip – it may be advisable to have Varifocals for walking. Some people with arthritis of the neck just don’t have the range of movement required to allow them to see through the best part of the lens and this can mean that they are either walking not being able to see their feet clearly, or they are aggravating their cervical arthritis trying to look down too far. Neither of these are ideal or helpful, and can be quite dangerous in icy weather.
If you want more information about Varifocals and neck pain, or if you have neck pain and need treatment, please telephone the practice on 01926 335932.Learn More
You are going along perfectly happily and then, suddenly, you’re in acute pain – it stops you in your tracks – you can hardly speak!
Over the next couple of weeks, the pain gradually subsides, although a couple of times you do something silly and it catches you again – agony! This happens once or maybe twice a year, without warning, but you never see a doctor or seek any medical advice or treatment. Why? Because you’ve accidentally just bitten your tongue while talking or eating. It happens to almost everybody at some time or other.
The resulting swelling on your tongue or inside cheek feels like a golf ball in your mouth and you are aware of soreness all the time, but on closer inspection, in a mirror or with a finger, there is almost nothing to see or feel at all. How can such a tiny sore create so much pain and feel so large in your mouth? How can it ever heal when it constantly catches or chafes when you eat and talk? But it does heal, and we all know that accidents happen: we will be sore for a few days or weeks, then it will heal on its own, or with a simple antiseptic gel or mouthwash. We accept that there is nothing ‘wrong’ with our mouth, we just didn’t coordinate everything properly while chewing or talking – it just happens sometimes.
So why is there so much fear about a similar incidence of back pain?
Occasionally, the joint capsule or synovium, or a small muscle fibre can get pinched, pulled or caught. It just didn’t coordinate properly when making a sudden or unprepared movement. It can be acutely painful and feel as if something huge is blocking the joint, although there is nothing to see on an Xray or scan. It is acutely painful, but improves over a few days to totally recover within a week or two. It might occur once or twice a year and be perfectly normal the rest of the time. A story that seems remarkably similar to biting your own tongue.
The inside of the small facet joints of the spine and the inside of the mouth are not so dissimilar, they are both highly sensitive (especially to pain), have a good blood supply (can become inflamed if injured), and have to finely coordinate hundreds of micro-movements to allow everything to glide relative to each other without pinching or straining. Occasionally, the coordination isn’t perfect, and we accidentally pinch the synovium or capsule of the facet joint, or knee, or shoulder – or we bite our tongue or the inside of our cheek. Both are very painful, both heal fairly quickly, both needing a little care and thought in how we function while they heal.
If a mouth ulcer doesn’t heal, gets larger, or starts to bleed, or if a back pain causes other, remote symptoms or fails to recover within a week or so, then investigation and intervention may be needed. If you constantly keep biting your tongue, or the back repeatedly goes into spasm, further investigation would be necessary to find the cause. The majority of the time, they are simply minor accidents of poor coordination; isolated incidents, a painful nuisance, and certainly nothing to be worried about.
Part of my job as an Osteopath is to remove the fear and apprehension following acute back pain and to encourage a speedy return to normal activity and exercise.
I have the luxury of treatment time, to explain the cause of the pain and so allay a patient’s anxiety; to empower them to take control of their spine and not let their fear of pain limit their potential.
Yes, you bit your tongue, it’s painful, but you don’t stop eating or talking – you know it will heal.
Yes, you injured your facet joint, it’s painful, but you don’t stop walking or moving about – you know it will heal.
I find this analogy of biting your own tongue and not being frightened of it helpful in understanding that the body sometimes just gets it wrong, and minor injuries can – and do, randomly occur. It’s a nuisance, it’s painful – but it’s harmless!Learn More