Posted On Sep 27, 2021
4 min read
The 18-month-old pandemic is ongoing and has left people working from home (WFH) for a long time now. Apart from the advantages like greater flexibility and family time, it is important to keep oneself aware of the greater threats lurking due to this lifestyle. One such threat is the toll on the spine it has been taking. The purpose of this blog is to spawn awareness among the WFH population about the issue.
The number of spine-related problems being reported at hospitals across the city is on a constant rise post-pandemic. Dr. S Vidhyadhara, Head of Spine Surgery at Manipal Hospitals (Old Airport Road) has seen a significant rise in the number of patients reporting spine/back pain. “About 30-40 patients come to me daily because of backache,” said the doctor.
What contributes to spine problems?
Stress and pressure for a long time on the spine, while sitting in the wrong posture, causes spinal disc ruptures or bulges. This affects the surrounding nerves and sends pain signals traveling to the brain.
Sitting or long hours can leave your spine stiff, sore, and painful
Too much sitting puts stress on the muscles and discs of the spine
It causes tightening of the hip flexor muscles
It also creates pressure and restricted blood flow to the muscles of the buttocks (the gluteus maximus)
Sitting for long hours can also result in slouching. Slouching causes the ligaments of the spine to stretch much more than their healthy limit and the spinal discs get strained. This can further cause disc bulging and disc pressures
Additionally, while sitting and working on the computer, forward bending can cause “poor posture syndrome”
When the wrong posture continues over a while, there is continuous wear and tear of spinal discs. This becomes a daily problem instead of an occasional one
Avoiding spine problems while WHF
Working from home can easily take a toll on your spine, especially if you are slouching over the keyboard all day long.
Proper ergometric workstation is an important and wise investment for WFH set-up. For the last several months-long hours of live meetings to connect with colleagues, family, and friends have become the new normal. The long hours of sitting in an uncomfortable position or furniture can lead to a lot of unwanted back pain /spine-related issues.
Some of the tips to help are:
The chair adjustments:
The armrest must be adjusted so that the angle of the elbow to the wrist is 90 degrees to the torso
The lower back must be adequately supported to sit up straight. This can also help to keep the head and torso in a more erect position
The height of the seat must be adjusted so that the feet can rest flat on the floor and the thighs are at a 90-degree angle to the floor
The workspace adjustments:
The elbows must be kept in level with the desk or the table while using the keyboard
Ensure that arms should not be up in upward or downward angle and the wrists shouldn't be bent
Computer screen adjustments:
The top of the computer screen must be at eye level to make sure that the head isn’t angling up/down.
While reading, the distance between the computer screen and the eyes must be maintained at 18 to 28 inches.
While working on the computer for long hours it is important to move around or stretch yourself every half an hour and change the position
Using a headset while talking on the phone can avoid several neck-related problems
Doctors and spine specialists believe that abandoning the sofa and bed while working and getting used to a proper comfortable workstation should become more than mandatory for the WFH scenario. A few minutes to fine-tune the WFH set-up can save from a lot of spine-related troubles in the future.
If you are going through spine problems due to work from home then consult the top spine doctors in Bangalore at Manipal Hospital, Old Airport Road. It is the best spine care hospital in Bangalore equipped with the latest technologies and techniques to provide you the exact treatment and care you need.
Q1. What is a slipped disc, a bulging disc, a ruptured disc, and a herniated disc?
All four cases occur with time when the discs get weak and part of the disc stick out in-between the bony parts of the vertebrae.
Q2. When is the back pain surgery done?
When non-surgical treatments like ice and heat therapy, bed rest, exercise, injections, and medications fail to relieve symptoms, surgery may be advised.
Q3. How to prevent spine problems arising due to a sitting job?
Spine problems arising due to a sitting job can be prevented by:
Maintaining good posture
Sitting upright with abdominal muscles pulled in for added support
Keeping feet flat on the floor
Avoiding crossing of legs (restricts circulation and causes misalignment of the spine)
Q4. What is a spinal disc?
Two neighboring vertebrae are attached by a ligamentous structure called the spinal disc. The spinal disc aids to allow movements of the spine and absorb shocks.
Q5. What is a herniated disc?
A herniation is the term used when a piece of the disc moves out of its original place. When the disc which functions as a shock absorber between two adjacent vertebrae deteriorates, it may bulge, slip, or rupture and press on the spinal cord or nerve roots causing pain.