NZ Chiropractors Seeing Increased Issues due to Covid-Related Stress

There is a marked increase in health problems triggered by rising stress levels and people working from home under unhealthy and poor ergonomic conditions in response to the Covid-19 crisis, according to the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association (NZCA).

NZCA member Dr Roz Griffiths, chiropractor explains: ‘We are seeing an upsurge in demand for care across a wide range of health concerns, including spinal complaints, posture, certain neurological issues and chronic pain. But particularly with the heightened levels of mental health concerns being seen since lockdown, chiropractors are taking care of more people with anxiety, sleeping difficulties and stress related disorders through their ability to assist the nervous system[1].’

A small Facebook survey of NZCA members found them reporting an increase in stress related disorders, as well as symptoms linked to poor posture caused by working from home and sitting at desks, or even the dining table, with poor ergonomics and less than ideal conditions.

This mirrors overseas research. Health insurer Bupa found that nearly two-thirds (63%) of UK workers experience musculoskeletal problems, including back pain, neck pain, and knee injuries, as a result of working from home[2].

And according to a Facebook survey from the New Zealander Chiropractic Association, more than 92 percent of chiropractors said that patients report more neck pain, back pain, and musculoskeletal injuries since they began working from home[3].

US Chiropractors reported that more than half of their patients (57%) were suffering from musculoskeletal conditions because of lack of movement during the pandemic, followed by psychological stress (20%) and poor posture (12%).

Dr Griffiths adds: ‘The pandemic has upended life, changing how we live and how we work, indefinitely. We have developed hybrid work patterns with some employees working exclusively from home and others mixing remote work with on-site shifts. We might win with a reduction in the stress of commuting and more time spent with family, but these do not come without a cost to other aspects of our mental health and physical wellbeing.’

Dr Matt Clark, chiropractor, who is practicing at Chiropractic Balance in Mana an Wellington says: `There are so many people with symptoms related to the stress of Covid-19 and from working from home. In a way it’s been a great time to set up as a chiropractor as there is such a need for our services. At a time when people are dealing with significant stress and different health concerns, now more than ever we need to ensure the public has access to all health care services when they need it.’

Chiropractors are regulated primary health care professionals registered under the HPCA Act with close to 700 annual practicing certificate holders working in solo, group, and multidisciplinary clinics around New Zealand. New Zealand chiropractors have significant training (a minimum 5-year tertiary degree) and a broad yet highly skilled ​scope of practice and clinical expertise.

New Zealand’s chiropractors are taking the lead to inform and inspire people to improve their health and prevent pain and disability by educating the public to have a greater understanding of the relationship between their spine and nervous system and how this affects their function and overall wellbeing.