5 mantras to deal with back pain due to WFH

Suffering from back pain once in a while is normal. However, if it's a daily affair, it could be for several reasons. Here are 5 ways to deal with back pain.
Back pain
Sedentary lifestyle can be the biggest factor behind back pain. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Dr Sachin Bhonsle Published: 1 Feb 2023, 08:59 am IST
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Even though Covid-19 infection rates have decreased, some organizations are continuing with remote and hybrid work cultures. While these have emerged as effective ways of doing business as it allows for greater flexibility, work-from-home may not always be conducive for health. It can lead to prolonged working hours, sitting for long periods of time in an improper posture, leading to backache and spinal issues. Let’s find out ways to deal with back pain.

Our spine consists of 24 vertebrae separated by discs and small facet joints; the muscles of the back are crucial for maintaining good posture. Back pain is a common problem that many people experience due to bad posture like slouching and sitting for long.

Here are some causes of back pain

1. Improper body posture

Work-from-home led to many people using their dining table, sofa or recliner as their workstation. These are not right for a good posture, thus leading to back muscle fatigue and mechanical back pain. Worse is lying on the bed and working on a laptop, which can potentially lead to disc problems and radiculopathy, or pain radiating from the back to the legs and toes. Pain is a signal from the body that indicates that something is wrong and should not be ignored, as it could indicate a serious issue.

ways to deal with back pain
Improve your posture and get rid of back pain. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

2. Vitamin deficiency

The skin produces vitamin D1 when it is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight, which is then converted to the active form vitamin D3 in the liver and kidneys. Vitamin D is essential for transporting calcium to the bones, and a deficiency can cause bone pain. During the pandemic, as people were restricted to their homes and lacked sunlight exposure, this too contributed to back problems.

Also read: Dear women, here are some common vitamin deficiencies you need to be wary of

3. Lack of physical activity

People who work from home often have difficulty getting enough exercise during the workday due to long working hours and lack of physical movement. Also, for the ones who were actively dependent on gym machines for workouts, access to which was restricted during a pandemic, did not get much physical activity.

4. Over-exercise or incorrect form of exercise

During the pandemic, there was an increase in the popularity of working out online with the help of videos on social media platforms. Over-exercising or using incorrect techniques leads to back muscle strains or slipped discs, causing significant pain and discomfort.

Here are 5 things people can undertake to reduce back pain:

1. Proper work setup

To maintain proper posture while working, it is ideal to position the laptop or computer screen just below eye level and the keyboard and mouse at elbow level. This allows you to sit upright and can help prevent back and neck problems. you can also try a standing desk to prevent back pain.

ways to deal with back pain
Try a sit-stand desk to avoid back pain. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Consume vitamins

It is advisable to get adequate sunlight exposure along with calcium and vitamin D supplements for a couple of months each year and to eat a balanced diet that is rich in vitamins to help strengthen the bones.

3. Exercise

Physical activity is crucial for maintaining good health. It is important to choose exercises that you enjoy and to make sure to warm up and stretch before exercising. Weightlifting without proper training is a common cause of back problems. In addition to muscle-strengthening exercises for the back, it is also important to include stretching to improve flexibility and core strengthening/abdominal exercises in your routine.

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Also read: Back pain: My mom recommends Kamarkas for relief

4. Take regular breaks

It is important to take breaks while working by indulging in stretching, taking a short walk, and hydrating yourself. If possible, take a longer break in the middle of the day to exercise. Aim to take breaks every 45 minutes or so.

ways to deal with back pain
Taking breaks can give you a chance to rest. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. De-stress

Many people experience stress while working, which can contribute to pain. Using the mind-body connection to address pain is important. Stress can be managed through practices such as meditation, Yoga, mindfulness, and exercises.

To summarize, maintaining a good posture, working with occasional breaks, a balanced diet, appropriate exercise, and certain supplements can support your back and will take you a long way and keep your back pain in check.


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About the Author

Dr Sachin Bhonsle, Consultant - Orthopaedic Surgery, Fortis Hospital, Mulund, Mumbai, Maharashtra.  ...Read More

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