Working from home in this Covid-19 pandemic creates an “always on” environment, where people feel the need to engage with work even outside office hours. Over 11 million General Practice (GP) appointments in the past year have been driven by stress-related illnesses – a sizable number for a country of just over five million people.
Common ailments in this pandemic that Dr Shaan D. Rai (chairman for charity and outreach at the Alliance of Chiropractic Singapore and founder of Vitality Chiropractic Centres) has been seeing during this pandemic include headaches as well as neck, shoulder and back pains.
These ailments are caused by long hours of work and improper working postures from hastily set up home offices and work stations. He estimates that there have been more than a 30% increase in the number of patients seeking treatment for WFH-related stressors since April 2020.
Unfortunately, many stress-related conditions cannot be cured effectively and directly by consuming medicine as they require in-depth nerve analysis – issues such as backache and migraines can be effectively cured with chiropractic care.
A 2010 study published by NCBI concluded that spinal manipulation is effective in treating both cervicogenic headaches (a secondary headache which is caused by an underlying condition like a neck injury) and migraines.
Rather than simply popping pills, how can we approach our chronic health issues more proactively? I asked Dr Shaan for some answers.
What are some of common mistakes people make when setting up a home office?
Dr Shaan: Most home offices are fashioned using pre-existing furniture, such as tables which are too low and chairs with little support. For a home office to be successful, and prevent causing pain or injuries, there should be an ergonomic setup.
The chair should be comfortable and support a good posture. The table should align with the chair, allowing the arms to be relaxed in front of the body. The screen should be at eye height. If possible, a standing desk would be preferable. Even with a good setup, ensure to take regular breaks and move around at least every hour.
What would you recommend as a solution to these mistakes?
Dr Shaan: Have a supportive chair with a lumbar support and headrest. Your legs should have right angles at the knees and hips, not too high or low. A standing desk would be preferable if possible. Have the screen at your eyeheight.
Depending on the work you do, make sure the screen is big enough to easily see details, without having to crane your neck and posture forward. Plan breaks at regular intervals, whether to get water, move and stretch, or to get a bit of sunlight.
How has your clinic helped a client?
Dr Shaan: Attached is a copy of our nerve scans for a patient.
This (left) is before an adjustment and then another (right) is after the adjustment, on the same day. This is typical for the changes we see for patients at every appointment.
What should people look out for in a good chiropractor?
Dr Shaan: Ensure they are qualified, with a current membership for a regulatory board, where they studied, such as in New Zealand or UK.
Find someone who is a specialist and has experience helping people like you, whether your goal is checkups for general well-being for you and your family, or to improve a particular problem such as vertigo, IBS or migraines.
They should be a member of the Alliance of Chiropractic.
Find somebody who focuses on Chiropractic adjustments and nerve system, rather than soft tissue techniques or exercises (this would be more suited to a Physiotherapist or Osteopath).
X-rays should be taken before starting care, to confirm the safety and specificity of any adjustments they make.
How does your clinic help people with chronic conditions?
Dr Shaan: At Vitality Chiropractic, we are Singapore’s first clinic specialising in nerve system problems, such as migraines, vertigo and other neurological conditions. I have extensive training in Upper Cervical adjustment techniques, the first to bring this type of treatment to South East Asia.
We are the first and only practice in Singapore to use Medical-Grade Computed Thermographic Nerve Scans and Biomechanical Upper Cervical x-rays to provide our patients with the most specific diagnoses and care.
After all adjustments we use Recovery Suites, the first of their kind, to facilitate faster results for our patients with more debilitating chronic conditions.
Special thanks to Dr Shaan D. Rai of Vitality Chiropractic Centres for the interview.
Featured photo from Vitality Chiropractic Centres.