NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — COVID-19 has caused all sorts of health problems, and there’s one you may not have connected to the pandemic.
Doctors are seeing a lot of neck and back pain, but CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez says it’s not from the coronavirus itself; it’s from working at home.READ MORE: Investigators Working To Determine Whether Johnson & Johnson Vaccine May Cause Blood Clots
There aren’t many of us who can replicate our work setup at home. We’re working on laptops at the kitchen table, on the sofa or even in bed.
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Tierra Oliver had been working for several months on a setup at her dining room table. She says it wasn’t long before she started experiencing pain.
“Pain between my shoulder blades, primarily from hunching over at the dining room table,” she said. “My shoulders were beginning to hunch in, and I was having pain in my neck.”
“The pain that they’re experiencing is absolutely reversable,” spine surgeon Dr. Gbolahahan Okubadejo said.READ MORE: New Effort To Help Frontline Pandemic Medical Workers Process Their Grief
Okubadejo has been seeing so many back and neck issues from working at home that he’s dubbed it “COVID posture and pandemic pain.”
“Your activity levels have changed, so the stresses that different muscles are seeing are different now than they did at baseline. So the pain patterns have changed as well,” Okubadejo said.
Probably the simplest fix is to set an alarm to remind you to get up and walk around once every hour or so, then take on your home work setup.
“Try to get a chair that’s similar to what you have at work that gives you nice support, nice cushioning, a rolling chair that has some movement and dynamism. With your laptop, try to have books underneath your laptop to raise it up. So the level changes relative to what you have at your kitchen table,” Okubadejo said.
Exercises that strengthen your core muscles to support your spine are a big help, along with physical therapy, which can target your specific problem areas. Both helped Oliver.
If nothing eases the pain, see a doctor for more help.MORE NEWS: Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccinations Suspended Across Tri-State As Federal Health Officials Investigate Rare Blood Clots
Gomez says certain medication for back pain can be the start of an addiction and should only be used for short periods of time under a doctor’s supervision.