Similarly, Priya Sharma, another working professional, began complaining of neck and back pain after WFH began. “One month into the WFH schedule and I started getting headaches and neck pain that have become severe now,” she says. Speaking to doctors reveals that several working professionals, who have been on WFH since the pandemic began, are now complaining of body aches and eye problems.
The results of bad posture…
According to doctors, these health issues are the result of bad posture for prolonged periods and also the increased screen time. “We are now five months into the pandemic and WFH hours are more than office hours. At home, people are mostly sitting with their laptops on a bed, without proper back support, leading to lower back problems. Others are working on a sofa or sitting at the dining table. This causes them to crane their neck and results in neck problems,” explains senior consultant in orthopaedics and sports medicine, Dr Hemant Kalyan, who has had many patients come to him with these problems recently.
“Other issues are aches and pains in the shoulders, hands and wrists, cramps in the legs. As many people do not have access to ergonomically designed chairs and adjustable monitors and desks at home, working from home could lead to an increase in musculoskeletal disorders or overuse syndrome and repetitive stress injuries,” informs Dr Deepak Inamdar, orthopaedic and joint replacement surgeon.
The result of increased screen time…
Consultant ophthalmologist, Dr Mridula Pentapati adds that pay stubs have been coming in with problems like watering and redness of the eyes, blurring of vision and sometimes, double vision. “People can also have myopia or near-sightedness towards the end of the day, which improves over time – after taking a break from the screen. These are the symptoms of computer vision syndrome,” she says.
Tackle these problems with exercise, say doctors
Since our exposure to sunlight has drastically reduced, people are also coming down with Vitamin D deficiency, says Dr Hemant, adding that this, along with the bad posture and minimal or no exercise, makes recovery even slower.
But given that the WFH model is not about to be lifted anytime soon, Dr Hemant recommends a few precautions. “People need to make sure that an adequate amount of general exercise is done to keep their muscle tone healthy. And those who have inadequate exposure to sunlight, need to take vitamin D supplements.”
In addition to this, it is also ideal to invest in the right setup, if you will be WFH for the forseeable future. That’s what Rohan did. “Once I realised that WFH will continue, I bought myself a proper chair and study table,” he says.
Common problems that are on the rise
- Dryness of the eyes
- Back and shoulder pain
- Increased headaches
- Pain in arms and wrists
How to avoid such health issues
- Try to replicate a work set up at home
- Take small breaks to stretch
- Include some form of exercise in your schedule
Repetitive stress injuries
With no access to ergonomically designed chairs and adjustable monitors and desks at home, working from home has led to an increase in musculoskeletal disorders or overuse syndrome and repetitive stress injuries. Most common complaints include aches and pains in the shoulders, hands and wrists and cramps in the legs.
20% increase in repetitive strain injury (RSI) due to WFH
Roughly around 20 patients walk in with RSI in a week. 40% of OPD cases are for computer vision syndrome. “In our OPD, before lockdown, around 10% to 20% of cases were of computer vision syndrome. Now it is up to 40% of our OPD cases,” says consultant ophthalmologist, Dr Mridula Pentapati.
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