Since we are now 11 months into a quarantine here in Texas, our lives have changed drastically. People’s new normal is very different than it was this time last year. Some things have changed for the better like less traffic, more family time, forcing yourself to enjoy the outdoors (because you can’t do anything inside), and getting to work from home. Some of it has been harder to deal with, and we all are dealing with it differently. Yet one thing our clinic has seen is increased neck pain and low back pain.
A new study out of Saudi Arabia found a significant increase in low back pain prevalence since quarantining. Although they have slightly different restrictions than the USA, generally more of their population is working from home, going out to public places less, and performing online education. There was a significant increase in low back pain for patients with the following: 35 to 49 years old, a BMI of 30 or more, switched to telework/school, undergoing stress, or are not listening to ergonomic recommendations given prior to quarantine.
In the office, we have seen a dramatic increase of patient’s suffering from bad ergonomics at work, since work is done at home now. Many patients don’t have a dedicated desk, computer, monitor, or office chair at home. When asked, a lot of people state that they are working at their kitchen table, sofa, or even their bed, typically on their laptop.
These working positions tend to lead people to work in bad postures, and be more sedentary. Looking down at a laptop screen typically results in the neck and head being forward for long periods of time. It can lead to rounding of the shoulders and slouching of the mid back. Long periods of sitting can lead to low back pain generally, but even more so if you don’t have good support in the chair you’re sitting on.
Overuse injuries, such as chronically bad posture for 8-10 hours a day, can easily lead to pain and inflammation of the joints, muscles, and ligaments. Going to see your chiropractor can help ease your symptoms. Your chiropractor should also be able to give you advice on ways to fix your ergonomics and give you exercises to help correct your posture.