Working from home for long hours is causing neck and back pain for several employees

S. Suresh, a resident of Mandaveli, has been working from home since the March lockdown. An IT consultant at a private company at Thiruvanmiyur, Suresh says the lack of a proper chair at home has taken a toll on his neck and back.

Dr. M. Anand, a resident of R. A. Puram and a full time orthopaedic surgeon at Fortis Malar Hospital at Adyar says he has been treating several patients with similar problems since the lockdown. He says, “Most of the men I have seen don’t have the correct posture while working. Many of them either sit on a chair that doesn’t have adequate back support, on the bed or sometimes on the floor too. The position of their laptop also matters. If they have to look down all the time, their neck is strained. This causes pain”.

If the pain is severe, medicines are first given to reduce the pain along with a recommendation of adequate rest. If they have access to a physiotherapist they are asked to learn exercises to strengthen their back. When they get back to work, they are also asked to change postures every 20 minutes, take a walk frequently and drink a lot of water as inadequate hydration can also cause muscle issues in the long term.

For women, the work now has increased two fold. In addition to working from home, they have to take care of the household chores too. Many of them are now developing knee and heel pain as a result of walking barefoot in the house all the time. Dr. Anand says a couple of things can be done to reduce the pain. Wearing soft slippers at home will reduce pressure on the heel and taking a course of vitamin-D and calcium medication will also help them recover faster.