By Health In Five Writer
The impact of Covid-19 can be seen in several direct and indirect ways in our day today lives. With increased screen time, poor posture, physical inactivity, and erratic schedules being followed by people at home, there has been a spike in number of lower back pain cases. From online schooling & classes to office work and several hours of meetings, most of us are found sitting for long hours without maintaining a proper posture. This has led to rise in back pain issues in adults as well as in children. Doctors are reporting such cases in the age of group of 8 to 20 years old along with increased cases in the age group of 25 to 50 years.
Says Dr. Vishwajit Chavan, Orthopedic Consultant at Apollo Spectra, Pune, “It is more than an year since the pandemic started, forcing most of us to work from home. Confined in their homes, people are attending their office work and students their online classes for long hours sitting in the wrong positions. Add to this, housewives are doing extra strenuous household chores in the absence of domestic helps. This is all taking a toll on their lower backs. Long working hours, incorrect postures, frequent large meals are all increasing the stress and thereby back problems in most people.”
According to doctors, they are seeing approximately two-fold increase in back pain cases in age group of 8-20 years and about four-time increase in people aged 25-50 years. This is not at all a sign of a healthy population. Like bone, muscle and neck pain, lower back pain is commonly being seen among children and adults during these times.
Adds Dr. Mayank Pathak, Orthopedic and Joint-Replacement Surgeon Apollo Clinic, Pune, “The long working hours, extended shifts, online classes, poor posture while sitting due to unavailability of specially designed chairs for back and adjustable monitors and lack of physical activities have led to pain in the spine for a lot of people. Many children and adults are complaining of lower back pain as they are sitting in the wrong posture, sometimes even on bed and sofa without realising the consequences. Binge-watching series and movies with a lack of sleep and rest while at home are other causes for stiffness and back pain. Those with existing back problems are also having difficulties as their pain has increased due to these factors.”
Thus it is essential to stick by ergonomics, maintain a good posture while sitting, avoid lifting heavy objects and divide household chores between the family to relieve stress and lower back pain.
“Don’t just rest on bed for longer hours as the body can become stiff, get up move, stand and stretch to manage lower back pain. Children and adults should opt for a cold compress to elevate back pain. Avoid sugary, processed, and fried foods that can increase the pain, limit food intake from restaurants and eat fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Include onion, berries, ginger, turmeric, and garlic in the diet to tackle lower back pain”, suggests Dr. Chavan.
“Bed, couches, kitchen table or sofas have now become working desks so make sure you have a dedicated desk and chair for work and online classes. Maintain a good posture while sitting, do not sit with a hunched back or in a slouched position, and take frequent breaks. Squat to lift heavy objects and adults should not do any rigorous exercises without warm-ups. The red-flags of back pain are unintentional weight loss, gait disturbance, fever, or weakness in the nerve and limbs and should not be ignored. Use a good chair that supports the spine,” adds Dr. Pathak.