Today we are going through a Pandemic of Covid 19 and it has brought the whole world to standstill. Lockdown has forced many to start Work From Home (WFH). WFH has it’s own challenges and is becoming a reason for another pandemic – Pain. I will call it as “PAINdemic”!
Its more than a month since we are all under lockdown and many companies had started WFH even before government’s announcement of lockdown. Since the last few days, we at Spinalogy Clinic have started seeing more and more people with pain in neck, back and joint. Most of this is due to wrong postures being used while working from home. To understand this more, we conducted a small online survey and found interesting trends.
Firstly, 90% of employees are working more hours than they were working before WFH. 80% of the employees do not have proper work arrangements at home. They are working from sofa, dinner table or bed. 90% are suffering from some pain in the last 15 days! For which they have tried some home remedy. 90% are working on laptops.
The common reasons for pain during work from home are:
Improper posture while sitting at work from home.
At times online calls contiue for hours because of lack of personal commuication which also leads to miscommunication.
Work delegation is difficult due to poor communciation. That adds extra hours to explain and delegate.
Equipments such as laptops or keyboards might not be at par – leads to poor perfomrance which adds to extra stress on mind and body.
Lack of proper routine also leads to poor eating and snacking habits.
Inadequate water intake –dehydration.
No or improper exercises.
Blindly following online videos or programs for exercises leading to musculoskeletal injuries.
Vitamin deficiencies- especialy Vit D (Sunshine Vitamin) and Vit B12
Uncertainty about future (both health and financial), leading to increased stress which also affects body negatively.
Binging on online serials and movies – leading to hours of sitting in wrong posture!
Make a proper routine as it was while you were working in office. Starting from time of waking up, food timings etc
Have a dedicated work area with proper sitting arrangement where there are less chances of distrubances.
Avoid continuous sitting at one place. Take microbreaks every 40 minutes. Do stretches during these microbreaks and hydrate yourself.
Discuss with other family members about your work schedule and get their confidence and cooperation.
Make sure you do some kind of exercise at least 5 to 6 times a week. Make it suitable as per your environment and space at home. It should be enjoybale so that you will continue doing it. Involve your family members or online friends. Things as simple as dancing or free exercises are good enough. Word of caution – do not start any totally new exercise without proper training and understanding your body’s limitations.
Make sure you eat proper food at proper time. Avoid binging. Since many are now trying their hands on cooking & baking, be cautious that wholesome food plate is the best diet in all seasons.
Spend atleast 10 to 15 min every day on meditation. Any kind of meditation will help you to reduce the stress level caused by this pandemic situation. Try to do your meditation practice early in the morning.
Keep use of social media and watching news to bare minimum. This will help you to reduce anxiety and unnecessary stress.
Do take some time out for yourself and family. Make sure you do not mix your family time with work time and vice a versa.
Do get in touch with friends and family members who are away from you. Video calls might be a better idea during this lockdown.
Ergonomics and Exercises:
It is dificult to arrange an ideal workstation at home for every one. Importantly, try and make your work area as ergonmically better as possible. Few tips that you can use:
If proper desk, table & chair are not avaibale, use dinning table and chair
Make sure your back is supported adequately. If not, use towel roll or pillow to support lower back area.
If you are using laptop, you can use few books to keep it elevated so that the monitor is at your eye level. Use exeternal keyboard and mouse to keep your hands comfortable while working.
Change positions while working. If possible, use standing desk type arrangement for some time and alternate that with sitting arrangement.
If you have to be on calls for prolonged time, use headphones.
Use books or some box to support your feet so that they remain flat on the ground.
Keep your knees and hips at the same level.
Keep your thighs supported.
Your elbow and wrist should be at the same level.
While using keyboard and mouse, keep your wrists neutral position. (Not extended or flexed or deviated)