The pandemic outbreaks led to various health issues including mental, psychological, emotional as well as physical health. While most aspects are not under our control, physical harm could be largely prevented, especially musculoskeletal disorders. The musculoskeletal disorders affect bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, or muscles.
The social distancing and quarantine measures intended to reduce the spread of Covid-19 led to poor lifestyle behaviours and the associated risk of acquiring musculoskeletal disorders. The risk factors include awkward postures, repetitive tasks, lack of exercise, mechanical stress, glare, inadequate lighting, obesity, and duration of such activity.
One of the studies stated that within the student population, average increase in usage of digital devices was 5.18 hours per day, bringing the daily usage to 8.9 hours. People spent this screen time on the sofa, couches, beds, or at the best on ergonomically compromised tables and chairs at home, leading to abnormal postures. The high-calorie, high-processed food was bought with long shelf life leading to obesity.
Physical activity was restricted due to obvious reasons. Skeletal muscles adapt to a prolonged physical inactivity by decreasing not only muscle fibre size but also muscle function and quality. The disturbed sleep patterns added lethargy and psychosomatic body aches. Most people complained mainly of lower back pain, followed by neck pain and upper back pain. Other problems were related to shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands.
Now the times are changing, and the world is opening up. It is time therefore to pay attention to your lifestyle. Be physically active and reduce sedentary behaviour by avoiding sitting for long time periods, taking short movement or activity breaks, utilising online exercise classes, and using technologies such as wearable sensors to encourage movement. Train yourself in the fundamentals of workstation ergonomics, which help to reduce stress and eliminate injuries and disorders associated with the overuse of muscles, bad posture and repeated tasks.
Take medical help for posture correction, correct exercise for your condition and recovery from musculoskeletal disorders. Now, advance methods are available with physiotherapy and orthopaedic departments to offer you a pain-free and healthy lifestyle.
- The writer is Specialist Orthopaedic Surgeon, JTS Medical Centre