Due to the COVID-19 crisis, many people are working from home. But, it may be difficult for them to stay physically active and maintain good postures while working on gadgets.
Incorrect postures can invite a plethora of health problems. “People sit on the bed, couch or chairs that are not comfortable, and may lead to back, shoulder or neck pain. Sitting in a hunched back position is also problematic. One may develop poor circulation problems due to sitting for a longer period of time. Bad posture can also cause impaired lung function as one’s poor posture tends to affect the amount of air one is taking into the lungs while breathing,” Dr Ashwin Borkar, Consultant Neurosurgeon specialised in brain and spine surgery, Wockhardt Hospital, Mira Road remarks.
Adding, “One may suffer from digestive problems as slouching can compress one’s abdominal organs (including the digestive tract), and even lead to fatigue, spasm and a sluggish metabolism. One may have a headache due to leaning forward for a longer period of time.”
The orthopedic problems that one sees due to bad posture include, lower back pain which leads to pelvic pain, which may lead to urinary retention or incontinence, constipation, or pain during intercourse as well; Neck pain and upper back pain along with headaches, giddiness, pain radiating down to hand and fingers with tingling and numbness; and increase in stress levels, says Dr Chirag P Borana, Orthopedic Surgeon and Joint Replacement Surgeon, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Mumbai.
A “corporate illness”, bad postures can better prevented than cured.
How to say no to bad postures?
Avoid staying in one posture for a long time. It is vital to keep moving in order to stay active and fit, and also have postural changes throughout the day. Remaining in one position for a longer period of time is a strict no no. Don’t be static. Try to move while working from home, watching a movie on the couch, while using cell phone when you are on the bed or standing in the kitchen while cooking.
Avoid bending downwards while working on the computer, or even using the cell phone while tilting dowward. It can lead to neck, upper back and shoulder pain. Hold handheld devices directly in front of you at eye-or shoulder-height, rather than down around your waist. Raise your computer screen or stack books underneath it so that you can keep your neck and spine in that neutral position when looking at it. Do not lean instead of that consider the zoom-in action so that you can see properly.
Avoid sitting on the couch while working. Stop doing that immediately. On a couch, you tend to sit anyhow without even thinking that it can be harmful to you.
Avoid bending elbows and wrists for a longer time. Resting wrists on the desk while typing can leave your wrists over-flexed for too long. Keeping either the wrists or elbows bent for too long can strain the joints and the nerves across them. Slowly and gradually, it can lead to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (a condition that causes pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and arm). Likewise, ones with a larger shoulder width, wider chest or a bigger frame must have a bigger keyboard as using a wrong-sized keyboard is not recommended.
Opt for strength and flexibility exercises. Abdominal, back and leg muscles are all important for maintaining a good posture. Exercises and workouts that strengthen these muscles can be a good idea. Do yoga or stretching exercises at home that can also help strengthen your core.
To improve circulation, try to take breaks while working from home and stand for some time after every 20 minutes.
Do upper body exercises that will be helpful for your shoulder and neck.
Practice correct breathing techniques. Stick up a picture of good postures to help you remind that you need to do so to stay in top shape.
Use lumbar support pillows recommended by the doctor.
Take the help of doctors, don’t sit on it, and wait till it gets worse.