Over the past few months, we keep hearing the same story. Our patients tell us that their back or neck hurts worse than usual. When we dive deeper into what has changed, it seems to be related to the Pandemic in some way.
There are probably two obvious components to this. The first is posture. The second is stress. Any stress goes right to your weak links. Our expertise is more about your posture, and how that affects your spine and pains.
Pandemic posture: Too much sitting in couches watching Netflix or whatever TV. Doing remote work, on a lousy chair, with the keyboard and monitor at the wrong height. Workplaces have gotten much better at providing desk workers with at least somewhat better ergonomics. But the home office, especially the newly created home office, is way behind on this.
Have you stopped or changed your normal exercise routines? When the gyms and pools are closed, have you found a way to exercise? This can be especially tough during the cold and wet months.
Is your back challenged? Are you more achy than usual? Are you waking up more stiff and sore? Look at your home work environment. Are you using a good chair? If not, do you have a better one? Is your keyboard at a good height? If you are working on a laptop, you are probably better off using the laptop as the monitor, and getting a portable Bluetooth keyboard, that you can set at the ideal height. This is a good way to create a part-time standing desk. A sit-to-stand desk, of course, is ideal.
Where are you reading or watching TV? Use cushions to support your back and neck, if needed. Don’t sit without frequent breaks. It’s not so much the sitting; it’s the continual sitting without frequent breaks. Get up frequently from your couch and from your work desk. It doesn’t have to be a long break. Just get up and move. Walk down the hall, do a few gentle stretches, refocus your eyes.
When you look at your phone, are you tipping your neck down, or bringing the phone up to face height? Continual forward head posture is hard on both the neck and back. Whatever you do, over and over, is what you become. We have nightmares thinking about what the young generation’s spines will look like in 30 years.
Take care of your body, it’s the only one you have!