Top tips for reducing muscle, bone and joint pain

15 July 2015 - Katherine Cran, Physiotherapist at Bupa UK

As a physiotherapist I wasn’t surprised to hear that more than half of British adults say they have suffered from muscle, bone or joint pain at some point in their lives - these kinds of issues are pretty common.

That said, what I do find surprising, is that as many as a quarter of us are taking a ‘grin and bear it’ approach and waiting at least a month before seeing a GP about it. While most pain can be managed through rest and light exercise, if the pain is severe, you’re worried or if you are also suffering from other symptoms, I’d always advise seeking professional advice.

Through my role as a physiotherapist in one of our central London clinics, I see a lot of people who have muscle, bone or joint pain, and very often, this can occur because they are spending several hours sitting at their desk or behind the wheel day-in, day-out. Of course, this is the nature of many jobs these days but it’s important to keep moving when possible. Five tips I frequently recommend to my patients are:

  • In the morning and afternoon, reach your arms across your body to stretch out your shoulders and to keep your shoulder blades moving – this will help your posture.
  • Help keep your joints mobile and prevent stiffness by doing some simple exercises and stretches throughout the day such as gently rotating your ankles, lifting your knees and extending your legs.
  • Avoid sitting for too long - try a mixture of standing and sitting throughout the day, such as standing while taking phone calls, or by suggesting standing or walking meetings to your colleagues.
  • Generally try and increase the amount of physical activity you do during the day, whether it’s during your commute and walking a little bit further to the office, walking around the block at lunchtime or committing to taking the stairs rather than the lift.
  • Make sure you think about your posture while you sitting or are standing – move any equipment you need such as telephones, keyboards or your computer mouse so that they are within easy reach and at a comfortable height to avoid any awkward stretching.

We have a physiotherapy self-referral service at Bupa – which means that we can support our customers to get quick and easy access to advice over the phone, so that they can get help when they need it most. If you’re suffering from severe or prolonged pain you should seek professional health advice to help you recover quickly and prevent recurring long-term problems.

If you have questions about any of the above, do not hesitate to tweet us @BupaUK, and you can also watch one of my fellow physiotherapists talk through other tips of how to keep moving during your workday.

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