Two-thirds of homeworkers suffer back pain and other injuries

A survey by Bupa shows high levels of musculoskeletal problems for home workers due to posture and lack of a proper workspace.

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Nearly two thirds of people who have been working from home during lockdown have sustained back and other musculoskeletal injuries as a result, according to a survey from Bupa.

Its survey of over 2,000 adults found only one in three (32%) of those working from home had a dedicated workspace in their home, and as a result, home workers are using their sofas, kitchen chairs, beds or even beanbags as makeshift workstations.

Bupa says that means that a quarter of home workers are hunched over their computers for hours, slouching or slumping in their seats, balancing their computer on laps or the arm of a chair or sitting with their back or legs twisted to try to get comfortable.

The survey found younger people are disproportionately affected – workers aged 18-34 are least likely to have a simple desk and a chair with a backrest, and are twice as likely to work from their bed as their older counterparts. As a result they report the highest levels of neck, hip, knee and wrist pain.

Just one in ten (11%) of those affected have sought medical help, with the majority using over-the-counter painkillers, massages or ice baths, says Bupa. And 28 per cent have done nothing to relieve their symptoms, despite the risk of longer term damage.

Damian McClelland, Clinical Director for Musculoskeletal Services at Bupa UK Insurance, said: “When social distancing measures were introduced many workers were thrust into working from home to keep them safe, with little time to prepare their workspaces. So it’s concerning, but perhaps not surprising, to see that so many are now struggling with their muskuloskeltal health.”

Two in five (42%) home workers intend to continue working from home when social distancing measures are lifted.

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