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Gone are the days when employees would crowd physical workspaces, and have a 9-to-5 work day. Ever since covid-19 hit the world, remote work has become the ‘new normal’. And while there are some positives to it, there’s a lot more than meets the eye.
Unlike earlier, our work hours are no longer defined. We sit for hours at end, attending those obnoxiously long zoom calls, or type furiously on our laptops without keeping a track of time. And that’s exactly where the problem lies.
If you’ve been noticing new aches and pains every day, that’s because you are not maintaining a healthy posture. And since remote working is not going anywhere anytime soon, you must be conscious about the state of your spine.
If you’re already experiencing physical strain, you might be putting yourself at a risk of a bad back, sore neck and shoulders, and in extreme cases, deep vein thrombosis—a condition in which blood clots form in the veins deep in your body.
On this World Spine Day, we got Dr Shradha Maheshwari, who heads the Neurosurgery Department at Cooper Hospital, Mumbai, and has performed over 5,000 complex neurological procedures, to answer this for us. And she has a word of advice for everyone!
Says Maheshwari: “2020 has been a life-changing year in many aspects. This year with the pandemic in the picture, life has taken a 360-degree turn. Lockdown, work from home, webinars or web series have become our new normal, and have brought our lives almost to a standstill, and changed the way we live.”
“All screen and no play definitely did make Jack a dull boy, impacting his spine health. The 2020 “World Spine Day” theme “BACK ON TRACK ” highlights the importance of exercise, physical activity, mobility and good posture to ensure a lifelong healthy spine. So, this World Spine Day, let’s get back on those jogging tracks, give a little bunk to our favourite snacks, and get our spines back on track”.
Here’s what you can do to help your spine:
Since we are on our laptops or computers all day long, it is important to have these gadgets at the right viewing height. Don’t look down at your screen, or don’t angle your screen in a way that makes you twist your neck. That might actually give you neck pain. If the height is not right, you can put your laptop on a pile of books or a cardboard box. That should work well for you!
Do not try to sit upright or hunch forward, because when you do, the lumbar spine bends out, and that puts a lot of pressure on your spine. Instead, sit back in your chair, so that some of your body weight is supported by the back of the chair, and you’re comfortable enough to reach your keyboard and mouse. And in case your chair does not provide enough lower back support, put a cushion or rolled-up towel behind your lower back.
It is quite natural to sit on your bed and work, but try not to. That’s because you will have to hunch over, no matter what. And that’s not good for your spine! In case you have no other option, then put a pillow behind your back and put the laptop on a cushion in your lap. You can also get a low table for the laptop for a better posture.
Celeb nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar advises people to sit on the floor cross-legged, with your laptop on the table. She also recommends that one can sit somewhere facing nature to give rest to their eyes.
Lastly, it might be difficult to get up every now and then, but make sure you move after every 30 minutes of sitting to steer clear of back and neck pain. Diwekar advises people to stand up straight on both feet for three minutes.
So ladies, follow these tips to get your spine back on track!