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Employees around the world are now based at home amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. While remote working has proven to be beneficial in curbing the spread of the virus, it has also brought about several mental and physical challenges. Since such work setups are expected to continue in the foreseeable future, it is important to know how working from home can impact your body.
Most people who work from home deal with musculoskeletal pain and repetitive stress injuries. Aches and pains are most commonly experienced in the shoulders, wrists, neck, back and joints. One of the major reasons for this is the absence of an ergonomic home office.
For yet many, physical discomfort stems from reasons beyond just their office setups. A dramatic decrease in physical movement and exercise while working remotely has led to muscle and joint aches, especially in areas such as the neck, shoulders, spine, knees and lower back.
A study conducted during the early days of the pandemic by researchers from USC revealed that the time spent by employees on their work has increased by 1.5 hours, leading to a higher possibility of neck pain while working from home.
Working remotely means recurring video meetings and the obligation to remain online to keep track of work. There is often no respite even after work hours.
With more and more meetings being conducted online and emails being the primary mode of communication, it is only common among individuals working from home to experience eye strain. Viewing a computer screen for too long without taking enough visual breaks can result in issues such as eye fatigue, blurry vision as well as frequent headaches.
Many employees do not realize the effects of mental and emotional distress on the body. Anxiety and depression usually manifests as physical disorders, inciting neck and back aches. This is because when we are stressed, our body releases adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol hormones, which can lead to an involuntary muscle tightening. Holding tension in your muscles for too long can cause chronic pain.
A study conducted in 2016 revealed that stress reduction activities such as yoga or meditation were as effective in decreasing chronic back pain as taking pain medications.
Although working from home can have a negative impact on health, individuals can take the necessary steps to resolve this. Many have begun seeking professional help from physiotherapists during this time.
FCBS Dubai offers musculoskeletal rehabilitation to address various conditions, from arthritis, tendinitis and bursitis to sprain, strain and joint injuries. Our programs are designed by combining exercise with therapeutic modalities to help patients reduce their symptoms, optimize healing and efficiently return to their normal function. Additionally, it helps them prevent recurrence of pain and improve their overall life quality – physically, emotionally and socially.