As a nation we are sitting more, as GP’s we are spending more time at our desks. How does this impact our health and risks of chronic disease and what can we do to reduce this?
As we strive to try and manage an increasing workload, reduce chronic disease in our patients and work our way out of the pandemic, so much has changed in primary care. Have some things like how we and patients spend our working days become less healthy and how can we negate this? Does posture impact joint pain particularly shoulder pain?
There have been a lot of negatives in the last 2 and half years, but we are coming out the other side, slowly. Looking now at how we live and work a lot has changed, some for the worse but quite a lot for the better. It’s an opportunity to look at primary care consulting and how we adapted, almost overnight. Quite a lot is likely to stay as it is better. There are fewer patient journeys to the practice, no full ‘pass the bug’ waiting rooms because of course there are no face-to-face appointments (don’t get me started!) and electronic tools to communicate with. However, consequently, we now spend a lot more time sedentary sitting down at our computer screens. This is the same everywhere, more online meetings, more working from home remotely. It all results in increased sedentary time and inactivity. We often talk about trying to increase our daily exercise or being more active but what about inactivity and its impact on long term health and joint pain?
Inactivity may actually be more significant than activity for both issues. So how can we adapt to this new world, what can we advise our patients and what resources are available? Another great positive of the pandemic is the wealth of online recourses made available to us. Moving medicine https://movingmedicine.ac.uk/ is a great tool to help us open the discussion and guide patients. The WHO have set out clear guidance on minimum activity levels for different patient groups https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity
Joint pains have increased since the pandemic with more sedentary time leading to deconditioning and posture leading to strains and pains, particularly in the shoulder. Coupled with this, waiting for physiotherapy is growing. So how can we diagnose the problem and how can we get our patients started while waiting for Physio.
There are some fantastic shoulder resources and a rethinking of rotator cuff issues to group a lot of the shoulder problems together, such as impingement syndrome, subacromial bursitis, supraspinatus tendinopathy and bursitis under the umbrella term, Rotator cuff related should pain (RCRSP), thankfully this makes managing shoulder pain so much simpler and there are also some great online resources we can share with our patients, written by physiotherapists. We will discuss all of this on June 16th, come join us for a FREE MSK Clinic where we will look at Inactivity and health, Shoulder pain how can we make this simpler and tendinopathy in the achilles. But in the meantime, remember, beware of the chair!