In the midst of the current Covid-19 pandemic, the public is advised to work from home. But while work goes home, workstations don’t; forcing many people to work in less-than-ideal workplaces such as couches, couches, and even beds. “This sitting area causes poor posture further exacerbating degenerative changes or wear and tear. You end up bending down, rounding your shoulders and putting your head forward,” said Dr Sheetal Rane, head of physiotherapy at Bhatia Hospital Mumbai.
Sitting for long hours also increases the pressure on the intervertebral discs. “This ultimately causes undue strain on the tissues that can lead to chronic back and neck pain including spondylitis, ” he said.
Spondylosis vs Spondylitis
The terms ‘spondylitis’ and ‘spondylosis’ are sometimes confused with each other because they sound similar and have many symptoms. However, they are separate conditions with important differences.
Spondylitis is an inflammatory condition caused by immune system acts against joints and other soft tissues, whereas spondylosis or osteoarthritis of the spine is not inflammatory and is caused by normal “wear and tear” or as part of the aging process. “Spondylosis is common and becomes more common with age. Wear and tear is normal and quite common. It usually goes unnoticed because recovery or repair of the body’s soft tissues occurs simultaneously. However, as the wear and tear progresses faster than the soft tissue recovery process, symptoms begin to appear. Prior injuries, poor posture can exacerbate or accelerate these degenerative changes,” says Dr Rane.
The most common symptoms a person experiences are pain and stiffness. You may also experience muscle spasms and weakness. That symptoms varies according to the severity and location of the spondylitis. “In a significant measure, it can put pressure on surrounding nerve structures and cause symptoms such as numbness, tingling, pain radiating to the arm or leg and muscle weakness,” Dr Rane shares.
Prepare your workplace
A comfortable seat with adjustable height is preferred. Your feet should be flat on the floor and not hanging off. Chairs should have a backrest, with a small towel roll or pillow for support lower back. The computer screen should be placed at such a level that the top edge of the screen should be at eye level and 16 to 30 inches away. The forearm must be supported.
Rest and stretch
Rest for 2 to 5 minutes every 60 minutes. Destroy your current position. Walk. Stand for some tasks. Do stretch practice for arms and legs during rest.
Consciously strive to improve your posture. Sit up straight with your shoulders and hips aligned in a line. Sit an inch higher often.
Movement has many benefits; it relaxes tissues, lubricates joints, prevents stiffness, improves circulation, reduces fatigue, and increases stamina.
Physical fitness can help you avoid and overcome problems associated with computer use and long hours of sitting. This increases strength endurance and flexibility. World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week for better heart health. It also helps keep weight under control. Some of these exercises can be aerobics, Zumba, cycling, swimming, skipping or even simple walking.
It’s a must to see a doctor if you experience constant pain, numbness, weakness, and have problems that interfere with daily activities, says Dr Rane. “In the acute stage of pain, rest is useful, after that you can start with attitude correction and stretching exercises. The physiotherapist will gradually increase your exercise to strengthening,” says Dr Rane.
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