Remote working leads to spine-related issues in young adults in Punjab

More and more companies embraced remote working / work from home, owing to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Dr Shubhang Aggarwal, Orthopaedic & Robotic Joint Replacement Surgeon and Director, NHS Hospital, Jalandhar said inspite of downtrend, cases of new or worsening back, neck, leg, and shoulder pain have emerged among the young adults.

Long standing or repeated episodes of back pain can take a major toll at personal, family and financial aspects of life. Back pain is the leading cause of missed days at work and colleges. Without proper care, approximately 20% of people with acute low-back pain will have persistent symptoms for more than a year.

“Remote working has led to many spine related issues in young adults in Punjab. An average adult sits almost nine hours per day. Sitting for a significantly long times is associated with nearly double the risk of type 2 diabetes and a 10-20% increased risk of heart disease. Besides that, 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 behavioral 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,” said Dr Shubhang Aggarwal, Orthopaedic & Robotic Joint Replacement Surgeon, NHS Hospital, Jalandhar.

While sedentary work cannot be done away with, people must take adequate measures such as exercising daily, maintaining the right posture and taking breaks from their seats in between work. Getting up from the seat and walking while taking phone calls, not using the phone, will ease the issue. Even reconsider the chair or couch you sit on for long times.

“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. Especially when your 15-minute Zoom meeting turns into an hour. Though zebra-print chair looks cool on video conferences, it’s not the most ergonomically sound chair for you.  Choose a chair that delivers both support and comfort to your lower back and hips,” added Dr Aggarwal. He further added a few points such as: Have a small cushion behind your low back, stand once every hour, ensure the top of the laptop screen is at eye level. Try using a 4inch foot stool under the desk if low back pain develops. Stretch properly. Have an arm support to rest your elbows. This will relax your shoulders and neck.

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