back pain while working

Back Pains: the Struggles of Working from Home

Do you know that lower back pain is the leading cause of disability in the world?

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 1.71 billion people are suffering from musculoskeletal conditions worldwide. At least 568 million of these are suffering from low back pain.

For employees, at least 264 million days are lost at work every year. This shows how back pain affects most workers. It is common not only to senior citizens but to adults as well.

Back pain can cause discomfort and difficulty in moving. It can affect your efficiency and productivity. It can even cause early retirement from work if not managed.

The best way, though, is to prevent activities that can cause you back pain. This is especially true now that more people are working from home.

The Pains of Working from Home

Many companies have shifted to remote work. This allows their employees to work from the comforts of their homes. While it might be convenient and safe, it has also brought uncomfortable adjustments to how people work. One of these is that employees do not have the most ideal work set up in their homes.

Compared to offices where they have ergonomic chairs and tables, they now have to settle with home tables and countertops. Unfortunately, these are not ideal for working long hours every day.

Studies show that 41.2% of people doing remote work suffer from lower back pain. Meanwhile, 23.5% suffered from neck pain, given the long working hours at home.

What could be the reason for this pain? Here are the usual culprits and what you can do to avoid back pain:

  • Bad posture

Hunched shoulders. Stiff neck. Tensed muscles. Lower back pain. These are all due to your bad posture while working. Your chair could be high or you are looking down on your laptop. You might be slouching or your arms and legs are not well-rested while typing. These can contribute to muscle tension which can cause severe pain.

You have to sit back straight and avoid hunching or slouching. Your neck and head should be at an upright angle so you have proper eye level when working.

  • Uncomfortable working chair and table

The height of your chair and table should be appropriate for work. Your chair should have armrests and lumbar support to prevent you from slouching. The soles of your feet should also be flat on the ground. If possible, invest in an ergonomic desk and chair.

  • Long hours of work

Sitting for long hours in front of your desk will increase tension in your muscles. Aside from discomfort, this sedentary lifestyle is also unhealthy. You have to move around. Take a break from time to time. Do a little stretching every 20 to 30 minutes. Even easy stretches can help ease muscle tension and improve blood circulation. You can also do yoga and other meditation exercises. It will also help improve your mood.

  • Limited movement

If you’re stuck on your chair the whole day, there’s no doubt you’re going to suffer from back pain. Stay active. Do other activities other than sitting and working. By doing household chores and walking around the house can ease your muscles. D exercise routines to make up for the hours you’re stuck in your working chair.

Back pain is common especially for senior citizens and working adults. But, what if you can’t bear your back pain anymore? When will you know that it is serious?

  • If the pain you are experiencing is sharper than the usual dull pain, then it is time to consult a physician. It could be a ligament or a muscle tore or an organ problem. You’ll never know.
  • If you feel like your legs are weak consistently, it might be a nerve problem.
  • If you’re suffering from persistent fever and weight loss, it could be a serious organ problem.
  • If you’re experiencing severe pain that’s only getting worse, consult with a musculoskeletal expert. You might be dealing with severe a fracture that needs Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI scan.

MRI can be a little intimidating, especially for those who have claustrophobia. The good news is, there’s more advanced technology these days. There are now centres that offer MRI where patients don’t have to go under a tube during the test. They can either sit, stand, bend, or lay down. This is perfect for those who get anxious in dark and enclosed spaces.

But as we say, prevention is better than cure. Improve your posture and stay active even if working from home. Remote setup doesn’t have to be this painful.

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