Young working adults are increasingly seeking physical therapy for aches and pains caused by seemingly harmless occupational hazards, like poor posture in the office.

The Singapore Physiotherapy Association estimated that the number of adult patients seeking treatment here has risen by about 30% in the last three to five years.

The association’s president, Mr. Low Hsien Chih, said at a World Physical Therapy Day event at the National Library Building in Singapore yesterday that there was also a change in the profile of these adult patients.

Mr. Low said: “Previously, we used to get patients who come in when they sustain injuries or get into an accident. But, now, we see seemingly fit and healthy people who come in with ailments.”

He pointed to two reasons for the rising numbers: A sedentary lifestyle and greater awareness of the help available in the form of physical therapy.

“Many young adults sit in front of a computer for at least eight hours a day. This causes a lot of stress as the human body is not designed to sit for a long time,” Mr. Low explained.

As a result, neck and back injuries are common, even among young adults who have been working for just a few years, he added.

Engineer Liew Kim Hoe, 38, is familiar with the discomfort that bad posture at work can bring.

For the past five years, he experienced stiffness and pain in his neck and shoulders as he slouched over his computer for up to six hours a day.

He said: “At first, I brushed it aside as I thought it was something minor and had to do with the natural process of ageing.”

Two years ago, the pain got so bad that Mr. Liew had to leave the office in the afternoon to see a doctor.

He said: “I felt so stiff that I didn’t want to continue sit- ting in front of a computer.” Working adults can avoid such woes by taking breaks every 45 minutes to stretch for about two to three minutes, said principal physiotherapist Cai Cong Cong of Alexandra Hospital.

Mr. Low also said that there is another group of adult patients prone to injuries – the “weekend warriors”.

These people are mostly sedentary on weekdays but active on weekends.

Their bodies, he said, may not be conditioned to what they put themselves through.

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