Lower Back Pain: Second Wave Of COVID-19 Sign In Children And Adults
Many doctors are reporting an increase in the number of patients with lower back pain post the second wave of COVID-19. Experts share their views.
India witnessed a devastating second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and the country is still reeling under the after-effects even as it readies itself to fight the third wave. The second wave claimed many lives and many surviving patients are coping with post recovery complications some of which are quite serious. This wave has affected even those who did not catch the viral disease. According to many doctors, there has been a two-fold increase in back discomfort cases among children in the age group of 8-20. In adults between the ages of 25 to 50 years, this increase is four-fold. The reasons for this are many but it mostly points to working from home for adults and attending online classes for children.According to Dr Vishwajit Chavan, Orthopedic Consultant Shoulder, and Knee Arthroscopy and Joint Replacement, Apollo Spectra Pune, “Now, for over a year, due to the pandemic, children and adults are at home and doing their online schooling classes and work from home that has taken a toll on their back. Even housewives are required to do household chores in the absence of domestic help, and that too has aggravated lower back pain.” The main reason according to his is because tend to sit for long stretches at a time while working on the computer in the same position. Food habits also get disrupted and stress is a constant companion. All these lead to lower back pain.

A case study

Fourteen-year-old Shubham encountered backache and easy fatigue for the last two months due to online schooling. His pain didn’t subside even after medications. Then, he was recommended physiotherapy for posture correction. He was also asked to take a mild pain killer to quick relief and advised hot fomentation. This helped to a great extent. It must be noted here that when you are working from home or using computers, your posture can easily get affected. The first indication of this problem is chronic pain.

The perils of prolonged computer use

Like bone, muscle, and neck pain, currently, lower back pain is commonly seen among children and adults during these unprecedented times. Children have to attend online schooling, classes, and even adults work from home, which is a new normal now. Increased screen time, poor posture, physical inactivity, and erratic schedules have induced back pain in children and adults.

Dr. Mayank Pathak, Orthopedic and Joint-Replacement Surgeon Apollo Clinic, Pune, says, “Initially, the work from the home policy got a green signal from many employees. But, the extended shifts and online classes, lifting heavy objects, poor posture while sitting due to unavailability of specially designed chairs for back and adjustable monitors, many children and adults are complaining of lower back pain as they are sitting for long in the wrong posture. This leads to pain in the spine. Binge-watching movies with a lack of sleep and rest while at home can also cause stiffness and back pain. And those with existing back problems are also having difficulties as their pain has increased.”

Keep yourself safe from this pain

By following some simple steps, you can avoid this pain. Experts say that it is essential to stick by ergonomics, maintain a good posture while sitting, avoid lifting heavy objects and divide household chores between the family to relieve lower back pain.

Here, we list a few tips from Dr Chavan that you can keep in mind.

  • Avoid lying down on bed for long hours as the body can become stiff.
  • Get up and move around, stand and stretch to manage lower back pain.
  • Children and adults should opt for a cold compress to elevate back pain.
  • Avoid sugary, processed, and fried foods that can increase the pain, limit food intake from restaurants.
  • Eat fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Include onion, berries, ginger, turmeric, and garlic in the diet to tackle lower back pain. al

Dr. Pathak also shares a few pointers to keep yourself safe from lower back pain at a time when bed, couches, kitchen table and sofas have now become working desks.

  • Make sure that you have a dedicated desk and chair for work and online classes.
  • Maintain a good posture while sitting, do not sit with a hunched back or in a slouched position, and take frequent breaks.
  • Squat to lift heavy objects.
  • Avoid rigorous exercises without warm-ups.

The red-flags of back pain are unintentional weight loss, gait disturbance, fever, or weakness in the nerve and limbs and should not be ignored. Use a good chair that supports the spine,” concludes Dr. Pathak.

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This post first appeared on The Health Site

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