Home / Science / Health /  Work from home hurting back and neck; people seek medical help

PUNE : With work from home becoming the new normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have started complaining of neck pain and backache while working for long hours and are seeking help from physiotherapists.

Health experts say this is due to improper sitting postures and people need to follow good ergonomics and working habits at home.

Employees of several corporate firms and industrial bodies have been working from home for nearly six months now since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country.

"Initially, work from home system brought cheers among employees. But, due to long working hours and improper sitting postures, many have started complaining of neck pain, backache and other issues," Dr Apurv Shimpi, head of the community physiotherapy department in Pune's Sancheti Hospital told PTI.

He said the National Institute of Personnel Management's (NIPM) Pune Chapter, a body of HR professionals here in Maharashtra, approached the hospital to conduct physiotherapy sessions for their associate members.

"Over 700 people took part in the recent session where they were given tips on work from home ergonomics," he said.

"Our physiotherapists explained about the wrong postures and positions adopted by employees while working from home. We gave them tips like raising the height of laptop screen to eye-level, use of pillows, taking frequent breaks and doing exercises for relaxing the mind and eyes," he said.

NIPM Pune Chapter's Chairman Dr (Capt) C M Chitale said many professionals have been complaining of spinal cord- related issues.

"During the webinar, physiotherapists gave participants several ergonomic tips and explained the ideal work postures to avoid backache and other health-related issues," he said.

Narendra Patil, HR head of Pune-based Kalyani Maxion Wheels Pvt Ltd, said though their firm is into manufacturing, several employees are currently working from home and have been complaining of backache and neck pain.

"We asked our employees to take part in the physiotherapy session organised by NIPM and it turned out to be beneficial for them," he said.

Anita Perla, senior manager (human resource) at KSH Distriparks here, said she attended a webinar on physiotherapy arranged by the Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture.

"Working from home is very different from working in an office. Infrastructure in the office is set up to support working conditions, but its not possible in a work from home set up. Hence, such sessions are important," she said.

Dr Sourabh Sane, a physiotherapist with city-based fitness startup HealYos, said they are teaching people how to set up a proper work station at home.

"We guide them on what should be the ideal height of the laptop and their work screen. The table-chair arrangement should be such that the computer screen should be at the eye- level," he said.

"Keeping a hard pillow on the chair for back support and simple stretching exercises also help people who have a sedentary working style for long hours," he added.

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