Surgeon weighs in on how to avoid “pandemic posture”

If you’ve noticed that working from home has been bad for your back, you’re not alone. Millions have been experiencing aches and pains they never had while working at a proper desk.

Fortunately, Dr. Rahul Shah, a board-certified orthopedic spine and neck surgeon, has your back. 

He tells ABC Audio via email, “The pandemic has forced people to work from home and to work in settings that may not have been optimized for long periods of sitting.” Additionally, he adds, “the pandemic has taken away people‚Äôs commute to work and possibly affected their gym/exercise routine,” both of which mean we’re not getting up and moving as well should. And when we’re not, we’re sitting in weird positions, and both are taking a toll.

Dr. Shah notes that with millions working from home, he’s seen a reduction in injuries caused by car accidents from commutes and on-the-job injuries, but more injuries from home, “Whether these injuries occur from increasing the use of exercise equipment like treadmills or stationary bikes, or…injuries … related to sitting for longer periods of time…”

Dr. Shah notes there are steps you can take to straighten yourself out, literally. First, reevaluate your makeshift “desk.”

Dr. Shah advises, “optimizing the work space such that the head is kept level over the pelvis and the neck is not craning forward will be good start.”

He adds, “Trying to ensure that the knees and hips are bent not more than 90 degrees will also help to ensure that the large muscle groups are not at a disadvantage when in their resting state.”

And stretching and exercise are a must. You’re not doing your posture any favors by working on your couch, then spending your off-work time in the same spot, binging Netflix.