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Amid pandemic, work from home becomes pain in the neck, literally


Manav Mander

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 15

With work from home becoming the new normal amid the Covid pandemic, many people have started complaining of neck and backache due to improper sitting posture while working for long hours. Pain in shoulders and spine-related issues too have started emerging as the prominent side-effects of remote working.

According to medical experts, without proper care around 20 per cent people with acute low-back pain will have persistent symptoms for more than a year. Dr Harpreet S Gill, Director, Advanced Orthopaedic Institute, Aykai hospital, said people were facing ortho-related problems as physical activity had decreased and majority of people were working from home. Number of patients coming these days has increased by 10-25 per cent as compared to pre-Covid times. “Due to limited outdoor activity, the deficiency of Vitamin-D is increasing, leading to ortho-related problems. Spine issues, which were earlier reported only in elderly persons, are now prominent in youths too,” he said.

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Experts say problem is prevalent in youth and poor posture and long sitting hours are to blame
They say without proper care around 20% people with acute low-back pain will have persistent symptoms for more than a year

Dr Shubhang Aggarwal, orthopaedic and robotic joint replacement surgeon and Director, NHS Hospital, said despite downtrend, cases of new or worsening back, neck, leg and shoulder pain had emerged among the youths.

“Remote working has led to many spine-related issues in young adults in Punjab. Poor sitting ergonomics, such as leaning, slouching, or using a workstation that is too high or too low, can lead to muscle and joint pains. The incidence of spine-related issues, especially in the IT professionals, reception and desk workers have surprisingly increased and needs sharp observation to diagnose. Once suspected, aggressive behavioural modification with exercises should help. Then even when actual physical offices start, the posture changes that we had adapted our bodies to during work from home, need to be tackled,” he said.

“Many patients are surprised when I tell them their bedroom or couch seating arrangement is contributing to their pain. Fluffy furniture is comfy. However, slouching over your laptop or lying down while typing is hard on the body. Choose a chair that delivers both support and comfort to your lower back and hips,” Dr Aggarwal advised.

“Use a four-inch foot stool under the desk if lower back hurts. Stretch properly. Have an arm support,” he added.

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