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Working from home? Follow these tips to avoid neck, lower back pain


New Delhi, April 16 2020 - As many people are working from home during the COVID-19 lockdown without a proper desk, they could be sitting in the wrong posture for hours which can lead to pain in the neck and lower back. Health experts have suggested that simple tips like not taking their laptop to bed, taking adequate breaks and having a healthy diet can help you avoid these problems.

People should be extra careful not to fall sick during this period as the work from home mode and closure of gyms have disrupted physical activity schedules of many, the experts said.

"We should keep in mind that this lockdown period is for our safety from a disease, and doesn't allow us to be careless and invite other diseases like cervical pain, backache, arthritis etc.," Monu Singh, Senior Consultant in Orthopaedics at Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Gurugram, told IANS.

"As people are not going out daily for office now, it has definitely broken their physical activity schedule including walking, gymming and to balance that schedule they should take out at least one hour everyday for routine exercise and other physical activities which can be done at home like yoga and other free hand exercises," he said.

The doctor suggested that while working from home people should use a table and chair, keep their back straight and posture right.

They should keep taking adequate breaks to avoid sitting for too long in front of a laptop or any screen for that matter, he said, adding that diet is extremely important in these times of restricted activity.

"Avoid snacking, don't keep munching unhealthy food, add more fruits and fibres to your daily meal with plenty of fluids and keep your calcium intake right," Singh said.

Subhash Jangid, Director and Unit Head, Bone & Joint Institute, Fortis Memorial Research Institute in Gurugram has advised people to do neck stretching exercises and keep the neck and back muscles strong in this period of lockdown.

"People with cervical issues should avoid any heavy weights," Jangid said.

"For people with back problems, you can walk in your home. Make a schedule, fix a time and walk at a length for half-hour to stay active. In case you do not have ample space for a walk, take out your yoga mat or a bedsheet, you can do pilates or soft yoga poses to improve your core strength and stability," he said.

Some such exercises are - chair stand, single leg raise, heel raise, front plank on table.

People can also do a plank and a child's pose to gain strength for the back.

The doctor added that dancing is a great way of staying active and keeping the family bond strong.

Alternatively, one can do skipping, Zumba, yoga or pilates or floor exercises.

"Stand or walk around while talking over the phone, rather than sitting down," the doctor said.

According to Viju Thomas (PT), Head Of Department, Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Department, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute in New Delhi, people who are working from home need to be more careful.

"Do 'Surya Namaskar' every morning and walk in your room. If one is already on therapy then be in contact with your physiotherapist and keep taking advice to follow," said Thomas.


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