Sunday 4 January 2015

Radio Interviews and Round Table Discussions

Round Table Discussions and Radio Interviews

While I have been running Relaxback UK I have been a guest on a couple of radio shows and also have arranged a few round table discussions with some very knowledgeable, influential and also entertaining people.
I have mentioned a few of them below along with links to the shows.

·         Round Table Discussion
This was a round table discussion looking at some current treatments and ways to avoid back pain in the first place. I was joined by the following experts and the result was an informative and entertaining chat.

David Rose and Juliana Hyka of Medserena - they very kindly hosted the event at the upright MRI centre
Dr Glenn Caley - a chiropractor with the Gonstead Clinic in Harley Street -
Namonga Mtonga - a chartered physiotherapist who carries out work assessments with RBLI for the Access to Work Program -
Nick Sinfield - clinical director of Spring Active who have programmes to help back pain sufferers that have been proven in the armed forces -

·         Medserena Upright MRI
I was lucky enough to be invited to the Medserena upright MRI facility in London. This is a state of the art MRI where Professor Francis Smith is clinical director and he hosted a round table chat with some very experienced and capable people in the world of ergonomics and musculoskeletal health. I was also there - just to make up the numbers.

Present were

Professor Francis Smith - Clincial director of Medserena 
Guy Osmond - of Osmond Ergonomics
Alberto Gonzalez of The Gonstead Chiropractic Clinic in Harley Street 

Please do listen but bear in mind it is the original recording and has not been edited by UK Health Radio so has some preamble at the end has caught one of us asking for a glass of wine - who do you think it is?

Pictured from left to right are Professor Francis Smith, Guy Osmond and Alberto Gonzalez.

·         Construction and Back Pain
I have recently being taking part in some discussions that are aired on the UK Health Radio, Health Kick show with John Hicks as the host

The latest one was about construction and musculoskeletal issues. It was a fairly light hearted chat but did touch on some serious topics so luckily there were some experts involved. They were Val Clark-Irving who is a physiotherapist working in occupational health for a Sir Robert McAlpine and Alberto Gonzalez, a Gonstead Technique chiropractor.

The link to the whole show is below - the part talking about construction starts at around 29minutes and 25 seconds

If we touch on any areas that you want to take further please do contact us via the information given on the programme or use the discussion forum here to take things further.

·         Radio Verulam’s Business Show
I was interviewed on Radio Verulam's show The Business. The show is hosted by Trevor Merriden, Roma Bhowmick and Victoria Scott and thank you very much for inviting me along as I enjoyed being a part of it. 
The topics were not about the products that I distribute but about business issues and in particular those of employing staff and being in a 'high end' section of the market.
A section of the show is available on

What I feel is the driving force behind my business, Relaxback UK, is summarised from 52 minutes and 49 seconds. Have a listen!

·         Channel Radio – Who Cares Wins
The Who Cares Wins team on Channel radio did a show on back pain. It was a general chat on back pain but also looked at the Back App ergonomic chair. 
Guests on the show were:-

Mary O'Keeffe - a research physiotherapist from Limerick University. She specilaises in lower back pain and has done research work on the Back App.
Stephen Makinde - an osteopath who has 6 clinics in and around London.
Me - Mike Dilke
The show has been split into three sections and can be listened to by following the links below.

Intro with Mike Dilke              

Section with Mary O'Keefe     

Section with Stephen Makinde

Who Cares Wins Radio Show

·         Verulam Radio Interview - Radio Verulam interview by Ashlyn Kaye of Kieran O'Sullivan, Stephen Makinde and Mike Dilke

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Roamer or Resident? New Ways of Working and What is Needed to Make it Happen

In the World of Agile Working are you a Roamer or a Resident?
New Ways of Working and What is  Needed to Make it Happen

Recently an Evening Standard article by Niki Chesworth asked if you are a ‘roamer or a resident?' There is a lot of talk – and action – regarding new arrangements in offices. The global insurer RSA has decided that 75% of staff in their new office at the ‘Walkie Talkie’ are able to sit at any desk. These people are referred to as ‘hoppers’ or ‘hot deskers’ and they  will sit wherever is free but usually in a ‘neighbourhood’ with colleagues that are on the same project or working on similar things.

Then are 15% of the staff who are ‘roamers’ which has nothing to do with wide open spaces but means they come into the office occasionally. The remainder are classed as residents who have a fixed desk so with 90% of staff not having their own desk it is a big culture change.

There is a lot of talk about the Google offices and culture with their slides in the office and interesting break out areas etc. The latest I have noticed is chat about providing free food and even people living in their car in the office car park to save money.  I am sure these type of offices have ‘hot deskers’ and ‘roamers’ working at different desks every day.

Then there are some offices that never shut. These could be call centres working shifts or emergency services that need manning 24 hours a day. Some call centres have a high rate of staff turnover to add to the mix.

The theme through all this is that staff will be sitting on different chairs from day to day or even hour to hour. This could be unsettling for us old fogies but could actually be uncomfortable and even unhealthy or those that suffer, or are at risk from suffering, with bad backs. In an office it is not that uncommon to see a chair with a big sign attached to it saying ‘Do not adjust or move’ put there by someone who has back trouble and has become possessive over their chair and how it is set up. Hot desking may seem a frightening  prospect for these people. In fact many people have chairs where you can adjust everything and the strange result is that they adjust nothing.

So for this new way of working maybe we need a new way of thinking about office furniture. We need furniture that provides levels of comfort, efficiency and creativity that match the modern approach to offices.  Adjustable height desks will work for all staff shapes and sizes for sitting but also allow standing while working. Chairs that are simple and quick to adjust to the user and promote the goals of comfort, efficiency and creativity will work in this environment.

I admit that I supply such furniture but if you are responsible for keeping the bums on seats as happy and productive as possible in the new office scape then give me a call to at least try the Back App chair and adjustable height desks. 

Mike Dilke can be contacted via or mobile 07979 248286

Monday 17 November 2014

How Long Should You Use Crutches For?

Santa Walking With The Help Of Crutches Stock Photo

You have broken your ankle and it hurts but you can still get about on crutches. How long until the doctor suggests that you get rid of them and start walking unaided? Hopefully as soon as is sensible because that will help you recover strength in the damaged area and not using your muscles properly (or at all) will lead to other problems. Not to mention it is just better to get on with your life as normal.

Chairs that support every single part of your torso seem to go against the notion that crutches should be temporary. We are designed to be active and take our own weight while we forage and hunt and although most of us are less active than our ancestors we are perfectly capable of supporting our own weight. Some may have specific problems that need extra help but the final goal would be, I hope, to get everyone back to normal – ie without crutches.

There is a movement to get more us to stand more particularly if we have desk jobs. Their website is Finding a balance between sitting and standing has to be the key and using a chair that encourages you to support your own weight and keep moving seems sensible to me. So if someone suggests that you need back support when sitting ask them how long you will need it for. If they reply ‘Forever’ then maybe you should ask them how they can help you do without it in the future because that is what you would ask the doctor giving you crutches.

Young Woman Recovering From Severe Accident Stock Photo

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Adjustable Height Desks and the Back App in the media

Relaxback UK has been getting a lot of attention in the media recently so I thought it was about time to make some noise and list them all - they cover the Back App chair and adjustable height desks.

Hertfordshire Life |October 2014

The Back App chair was mentioned in an article about posture in this months Hertfordshire life and also in the e-magazine Sticks - see page 17 . 

National publications have noticed the Back App as well. Last week was Back Care Awareness week and the Independent web page looked at different ergonomic chairs and featured the Back App.

Relxback UK was also mentioned in EQUIP, the magazine published by RBLI. Click here and see page 6 but do read the rest as well.

This sweet little adjustable height desk won a Platinum award from the Imperfectly Natural Website - infact the Back App chair won it last year as well.

Friday 26 September 2014

BackCare Awareness Week - 6-12th October, "Back in the Office"

Back pain affecting office workers is the theme of the BackCare charity awareness week this year. Relaxback UK is proud to be a sponsor of this very worthwhile charity and is taking part in some events during the week.

Round Table Discussion

Already recorded and to be aired on UK Health Radio is a round table discussion looking at some current treatments and ways to avoid back pain in the first place. I was joined by the following experts and the result was an informative and entertaining chat.

  • David Rose and Juliana Hyka of Medserena - they very kindly hosted the event at the upright MRI centre
  • Dr Glenn Caley - a chiropractor with the Gonstead Clinic in Harley Street -
  • Namonga Mtonga - a chartered physiotherapist who carries out work assessments with RBLI for the Access to Work Program -
  • Nick Sinfield - clinical director of Spring Active who have programmes to help back pain sufferers that have been proven in the armed forces -

    Thank you very much to everyone for coming and taking part in the discussion and thank you to Medserena for hosting.

    The conversation will be aired just before and also during the awareness week on :-

    Wednesday October 1st at 6am and 6pm
    Friday October 3rd at 11am
    Saturday October 4th at 1am, 9am and 5pm
    Monday October 6th at 11am and 11pm

    The show is also available here on a podcast here -

    Back Pain Information/ Advice at Nuffield Health Gym, Bishops Stortford

    From mid-day on Friday October 10th at Nuffield Gym in Bishops Stortford there will be some free advice on how to treat and how to avoid back pain. This will be given by:-

    • A chartered physiotherapist
    • A nutritionist
    • A workstation consultant
    There will also be some office furniture to try out. The event is open to memebers and non members of the club.

    Back Pain Information/ Advice at RSPB, Sandy

    For staff only there will be seminars from an osteopath, a nutritionist and a workstation consultant along with the chance to try out different types of desks and office chairs. This event is on October 8th.

    Thursday 11 September 2014

    We Need a Healthy Mix of Sitting and Standing - what is happening in USA

    We Need a Healthy Mix of Sitting and Standing

    It is often said what happens in the USA ends up happening here sooner or later. An article that is a review of the Back App chair also looks at American office habits and says that they are going through a Renaissance in active office furniture with standing desks, treadmill desks, desktop risers, and adjustable height conference tables slowly transforming the workplace for the better.

    This type of approach is being seen, somewhat, here in the UK and there have been plenty of articles and media attention given to sit/ stand desks and how we should spend less time sitting. However the article makes the point that to get rid of office chairs completely is 'not realistic, and it's not even healthy.'

    America does have a problem with  sedentary lifestyles (as do we) and promoting standing is generally a good thing but a balance is needed. The article points out that too much standing can lead to fatigue and varicose veins so we need a situation where office workers can switch between sitting, standing and walking. The walking can be walking up the stairs rather than taking the lift or even on treadmill desks.

    The general idea that employers should try and take on board is that helping your staff to keep moving will keep them healthier and that has got to be a good thing for the bottom line.

    The article referred to is here -

    The Back App Chair 

    Friday 22 August 2014

    Stand Up, Get Slimmer, a Better Posture and Live Longer


    ‘Standing has benefits for improving your posture and therefore back pain, it improves circulation and therefore cardiovascular health and it also promotes greater mobility in general.’

    This is from Professor Kevin Fenton, the national director for Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England, which is the body in charge of improving our health and is the subject of a Daily Mail article.

    One way to promote this healthier life, amongst office workers at least, is to provide sit/ stand desks. These are electric adjustable desks that are quick and easy to change the height of with no disruption to your work colleagues. This means you can sit on a chair of any height or work standing up. A standard desk is 72 cm high and is often given to all staff whether they are six and a half feet or five feet tall – this is just plain crazy so at the very least an adjustable desk will keep all your staff more comfy whatever their size.

    That is just the start though as when you stand your heart rate increases by about ten beats a minute according to Professor Fenton. This will make staff fitter and in the long term having a healthier work force must be good. Standing and moving more can also boost productivity and creativity – certainly I often stand up when I am thinking over a problem or taking an important phone call.   

    Standing up all day may seem like a chore but that is not what is being suggested here and mixing it with sitting is the goal. Using a chair in which you sit a bit higher so it isn’t such an effort to get up means you are less likely to get stuck in a seated position while glued to the computer and will help you switch between sitting and standing. The Back App chair does this and has the added benefit of ensuring movement hence giving your back muscles a very gentle but constant exercise, keeping you comfortable and burning more calories than if sitting completely still.

    Some companies already have standing meetings as a way of keeping them focused and shorter. An adjustable height conference table would allow standing and sitting during a meeting and might provide the best of both. However it might be best to let the boss have the height control!

    In October, Public Health England will issue new guidelines on exercise which will advise on all areas of our lives and not just office work but for many of us that is an important part of what we do.

    The Back App chair and adjustable height desks

    For more info on sit/ stand desks and Back App chairs see

    Article in Mail Online by Sophie Borland