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Jul 30, 2020

One side effect of lockdown that members may not have foreseen is back and neck pain. According to an interventional pain medicine specialist, Sagar Parikh, approximately 80% of adults will experience lower back pain at some point during their lifetime.

Wilma Erasmus from Physio Focus, a Bestmed physiotherapy service provider, says that while back and neck pain symptoms are not the same in all cases, they should be treated with priority and care. “Back pain can range from a mild, dull, annoying ache, to persistent, severe, disabling pain. It can restrict mobility and interfere with normal functioning and quality of life.”

Neck pain occurs in the cervical vertebrae in your neck. Because of its location and range of motion, your neck may be left unprotected and might be more susceptible to injury or overload.

“Pain or discomfort in your back or neck area can be experienced in different ways. It can come on suddenly and intensely or it can be chronic and might last anything from a couple of weeks to years. The symptoms can be continuous or intermittent,” she added.

It is important to consult a healthcare provider if experiencing persistent pain.

Some causes of back and neck pain include:

  • Lower back strain
  • Arthritis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Improper spine alignment and stability
  • Herniated disc
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Fractures
  • Overuse or repetitive strain injuries

During lockdown, we are typically less active than usual. At-home workstations may not be very conducive to sitting in one position for an extended period.

Here are a few stretching tips that can be done at home to alleviate pain while in lockdown:

Chair pigeon pose

  1. While seated in a chair, place both feet flat on the floor.
  2. Bring your right knee up to your chest and hug it tightly.
  3. At a 90-degree angle, cross your right leg over your left leg.
  4. To avoid putting pressure on the knee, keep your foot flexed.
  5. Repeat on the other side.

Sit and stand chair pose

  1. While sitting on a chair, place your arms out in front of you.
  2. Stand up with your arms still out in front of you, and then sit back down.

Cow face arms

  1. Extend your left arm up to the ceiling, with your palms facing forward.
  2. Bend your left elbow and bring your left hand to your spine.
  3. Extend your right arm to the side with your palm facing down, and internally rotate your arm so your palm faces behind you.
  4. Bend your right elbow and bring your right hand up the centre of your back.
  5. Tuck your forearm into the hollow of your lower back.
  6. Roll your shoulders back and down and hook the fingers of both hands as far as you can.
  7. Make sure you keep both arms active, pushing your top elbow towards the ceiling and the other to the floor.
  8. Repeat this on the opposite side.

Seated crescent moon pose

  1. While sitting, raise both arms above your head and stretch all the way through your arms to the fingers, lifting your chest.
  2. This pose stretches your rib cage, arms and torso.

Seated twist

  1. Sit sideways on a chair, pressing your left hip into the back of the chair.
  2. Align your feet and knees.
  3. Inhale, and lift up through the spine towards the ceiling.
  4. Turn to face the back of the chair and hold on to the chair back with your right hand.
  5. Press your left palm against the other side.
  6. Repeat on the other side.

For recurring or more acute back and neck pain, Bestmed offers a back and neck preventative programme to assist members with chronic back and neck pain, and to improve the clinical state of the back and/or neck in order to prevent surgery.

We have enlisted Documentation Based Care (DBC) and Workability as our contracted service providers for the programme. Our qualified service providers apply tested principles include analysis, correction, and maintenance of the correct body posture as well as stabilisation of the spine.

All members are entitled to this benefit, provided they meet the entry criteria. To be considered for the programme, a member must visit a DBC Clinic or Workability clinic for an evaluation/first assessment to determine their clinical profile and to ensure that they will benefit from the programme. If the member is considered to qualify for the programme, the doctor will provide a motivation. The member can then send the application to Bestmed for consideration and authorisation.

For more information on the programme contact us by:

Telephone number:     086 000 2378

Fax number:               012 472 6780

E–mail address:          mhc@bestmed.co.za

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