Living in times of the pandemic affects our general wellbeing in ways we could never have imagined. From the stress of coping with the home, office and children together with little change in the environment to the development of poor postures, our joints and muscles bear the brunt of the burden. No wonder, many people today complain of back, neck and headaches.
A study by PMC Labs on “Characterizing the Home Working Population During the COVID-19 Emergency” shows that 41.2% of those working from home reported back pain, while 23.5% reported neck pain due to extended hours Complained home. In an article published by ‘Headache’, the Journal of Head and Face Pain, factors such as poor ergonomics, stress, longer screen time, sleep and routine disorders, poor time management, and increased isolation caused by the pandemic can all lead to frequent headaches among working professionals .
Poor posture and a sedentary lifestyle are major contributors to the rise in musculoskeletal disorders of the lower back and neck during pandemic times.
ALSO READ: Does Working From Home Sore Your Back? Tips for correcting your posture
Here are the top reasons why working from home has become so “painful” for people:
“Travel restrictions and the temporary closure of playgrounds, swimming pools, fitness studios or jogging trails, etc., were major hurdles for those who regularly do sports. They significantly reduced the daily physical activity and eating behavior of individuals,” says Prof. (Dr.) Ali. Irani, Head of Physiotherapy and Sports Medicine, Nanavati Max Super Specialty Hospital.
“The number of people exposed to back and neck pain has increased recently. Sedentary lifestyle, poor posture, physical trauma and emotional stress can all contribute to this, ”says Dr. Dipti Patel, Rheumatologist, Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai Central.
“In addition to a healthy diet, it is important to integrate physical activity into everyday life in order to improve the health of the musculoskeletal system,” adds Dr. Patel added.
Change in eating habits
“Many of our patients complained that their breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner times changed due to the irregular WFH times,” says Dr. Irani, adding, “Individuals who work from home must respect and adhere to their earlier meals and speak to your nutritionists to help plan a diet according to your daily schedule,” he says.
Change in sleeping habits
“Substantial disturbances in sleeping habits were caused by changes in meals and exercises. At the same time, the majority of the WFH population frequently skipped baths, face washing, dressed, or even breakfast, which made them feel sluggish and sleepy while working. In addition, working hours in of the WFH population went beyond their normal working hours and overlapped their sleep schedule, which disrupted their routine, “adds Dr. Irani added.
“Lack of sleep can make pain symptoms worse. The ideal bed is a bed that is “comfortable for you”. For the best sleeping position, lying on your side or on your back is easier than sleeping on your stomach. Tucking a pillow between your legs and straightening your hips also relieves back pain, “advises Dr. Patel.
She says maintaining a sleep routine is important and avoiding bedtime equipment at all costs. Light reading materials or light music can help the mind relax before going to sleep. She advises dimming the lights and creating an atmosphere that promotes sleep.
Poor work-life balance
“It’s also important to find a balance between work, diet and exercise. Establishing a time for light family exercises such as hopping, climbing stairs, walking the patio or the grounds, and even dancing can help you stay healthy. ” Irani says.
Certain exercises and routine changes are recommended for people who work from home.
Do pain relief exercises while working from home
Back pain can be associated with stress, tension, and other non-physical problems. Yoga, meditation, and other mindfulness exercises can help lift your mood, stretch your muscles, and relax so you can better manage your back pain. “It’s important to understand that lack of exercise can make joint pain worse. Because of lack of time or fear of worsening pain, people avoid exercise. However, exercise and exercise, both aerobic and for muscle strengthening, can improve flexibility and prevent stiffness, ”says Dr. Patel.
Stay physically active
“We have also observed that the majority of people with physiological problems kept essential food or water near work or was given to them by their families. It is better to take small breaks and walk around to get water and food for small household chores such as folding clothes or dusting the house and furniture while you work than exercise. At the same time, access to fresh air and greenery can also help when walking, “says Dr. Irani.
Improving bad posture
Bad posture is anything that causes pain in your joints or muscles. This makes it ideal for stretching and stretching your back, neck, hands and legs while you work. Most offices have a chair and a table, as the structure puts the least strain on your joints and muscles and allows you to work painlessly. People who work from home should have a footrest, keep the screen at eye level to minimize strain on the neck muscles, support elbows and wrists when working on a laptop or computer, and provide back support for spine comfort for ideal posture.
Posture Improvement Tips from Dr. Patel
* Do not sit in your bed hunched over your laptop.
* If you have to sit for a long time, use padded chairs. Hard seats don’t support your back and can prevent you from sitting up straight.
* Use a comfortable desk and chair if you need them while you work.
*Keep your feet shoulder width apart.
*Tuck your stomach in when you stand.
*Standing too long regularly shifts your weight from foot to foot and from toe to heel.
*Roll your shoulders back.
*Let your arms hang naturally on the sides of your body.
How to protect your eyes
*Reduce screen time as much as possible.
*Maintain a reasonable distance between the screen and your head.
*If necessary, wear glasses after an eye check to avoid unnecessary strain.
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