The initial days of the COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of people to work from home instead of their offices. However, even as the cases of COVID-19 continued to rise and fall in different countries, a large proportion of people have continued working from home. Many corporate companies and small IT-based businesses have also made new policies that allow employees to work from home permanently. While working from home certainly has its benefits, there have been many health concerns associated with it. Some of these health issues are orthopaedic in nature. As we tend to sit on our chair or sofa, looking at our laptop/computer screens for hours at a stretch, it can induce pain in different muscular areas in the body.
Considering most people lack the ergonomic setup that they have back in the office, inadequate physical movements and incorrect posture tend to worsen their health. However, there are certain useful steps you can take to relieve your pain and prevent orthopaedic problems. Below, we have mentioned some common orthopaedic problems and how you can manage them while you continue to work from home.
Here is a list of common orthopaedic conditions that may be caused due to working from home and ways to prevent/treat them:
Back pain if left untreated can lead to severe pain and disablement issues. Some of the main causes of back pain include prolonged sitting while working from home, lying down, sleeping in an uncomfortable position, sudden stressing movement, sitting on an uncomfortable chair, etc. In extreme situations, it can lead to muscle pull or ligament tear.
A few common symptoms for back pain include muscle ache in the back region, shooting pain, and pain when bending or lifting things. Despite the severity, most back pains can be treated at home with some home-care remedies, which can lead to significant improvements over time.
However, if your back pain is followed by fever, sudden weight loss, causing weakness or numbness in legs, gets severe despite home treatments, or causes bowel issues, visit a doctor as soon as possible.
The shoulder happens to be the most mobile joint in our body. You can move your shoulders forward, backward, circular, up, and away from the body. Any discomfort or pain in this area can affect adjoining parts of the body and halt some of our mundane tasks that require the use of arms. Shoulders are one of the most common areas that can get easily injured while doing some physical labour or playing sports. Shoulder pain happens when the tendons (rotator cuffs) get swollen. When this happens, it is recommended to keep icing the shoulder for a few days until the pain reduces.
If shoulder pain is accompanied by fever, trouble moving your arms, bruises, heat and tenderness around the area, or severe pain, it is time to contact your doctor. The treatment recommended by any doctor will be dependent on the extremity of the shoulder pain.
Also, note that if you are experiencing extreme shoulder pain without any prior injury or harm, call the doctor immediately as it can be a sign of heart attack in most individuals.
Work from home has reduced the regular physical activity of a lot of individuals. Spinal pain is one of the main orthopaedic problems that people may face while working from home. It is caused mainly due to inappropriate posture or muscle spasms. Other reasons for severe spine pain can be slipped disk, nerves clutter, or tumour.
If your spine pain does not reduce in two weeks of home care, it is advisable to get a diagnostic test done. Further, in case the severity of the pain restricts your movement, you need to get in touch with a doctor as soon as possible as it is an indication of some serious health condition.
Sitting continuously for long hours while working from home can also lead to hip pain in some individuals. Hip pain is generally more common in older people as the cartilage supporting hip joints deteriorates over the years. One of the ways you can avoid hip pain while working from home is by taking short walking breaks along with stretching. You can also take over-the-counter pain medications and use ice packs to relieve your hip pain. However, if you are experiencing continued or severe pain in your hip region, you should immediately consult your doctor.
If your sitting arrangement while you are working from home is not proper or if your legs are frequently cramped in a small space, it can lead to knee pain. If your sitting posture also puts a lot of pressure on your knees, it can lead to knee pain. In case of mild knee pain, you should try to find more comfortable sitting positions which do not put a strain on your knees. Exercising and stretching can also help you avoid the pain. However, if your knee pain persists for a long time, see a doctor.
Here are a few tips you can implement to prevent work from home related orthopaedic injuries:
If you sit continuously for a long period of time while working, it will lead to orthopaedic issues and pain. You should take 5-10 minute breaks every couple of hours and walk around the house and do some stretches.
Chairs with lumbar support are special chairs built for giving support to the back. These chairs are used by people who experience back pain or wish to prevent back pain due to sitting. If you have the means, you can also try to get a customised lumbar support chair that is tailored to your needs.
While you continue working from home, you need to make sure that you sit in the correct posture that supports your spine and back.
Regular exercise and stretching can keep your joints and muscles in good health so that you do not get affected even when working continuously for long hours.
Work from home has become a part of the new normal. However, it does come with its fair share of challenges. The health issues associated with prolonged working from home can ruin your health in the long run. As you can see, orthopaedic conditions seem treatable in the start with appropriate home care. But they can lead to some severe problems when ignored or not treated correctly. Seeking medical assistance for the treatment of the same can cost you a fortune, which can end up draining your life savings. Therefore, it is wise to buy a health insurance plan that covers such medical treatments and hospitalisation expenses. With health insurance available on Bajaj MARKETS you can benefit from features such as cashless claim settlements, reinstatement benefits, tax benefits, hassle-free renewals, and more.
Here are some tips to avoid back pain while working from home:
Take regular breaks and stretch.
Use a lumbar support chair.
Sit in the correct position.
Each insurance plan has its own set of inclusions. Read all details before buying a policy to know whether a particular medical condition is covered.
Yes, sitting in the wrong posture for long hours can lead to neck pain.
Yes, if you are experiencing continued pain due to sitting while working, you should definitely consult a doctor.