Common Injuries as a Result of MCO/Quarantine Life

on April 26, 2022

In this post, we are going to share with you what are the common injuries as a result of MCO/quarantine life that we all had to endure during the “Pandemic reign” over these past two years.

In fact, as recommended by WHO, just by taking a short break from sitting, by doing 3-4 minutes of light intensity physical movement, such as walking or stretching, will help ease your muscles and improve blood circulation and muscle activity.

Let’s get started with the common injuries that has been haunting us as a results of our MCO or qurantine or even our Work From Home (WFH) routine.

Let’s dive right in!!

working from home

Once upon a time, we were told that we would have to work from home for just two weeks. Two years later, some of us are still at home. Some companies have even realised that working from home is actually not that bad and are willing to continue with it, even after the pandemic.

Just like everything, working from home has its pros and cons. Those who work from home do not have to wake up early to get ready for work or brave through rush hour traffic and potential bad weather.

They get to work in the comforts of their own home with the added benefit of having more time to themselves before and after work. Some fill their free time with new hobbies, others finally  have enough time to exercise, or spend with family.

Behind the façade of additional free time and newfound hobbies, it may not always be sunshine and rainbows.

Newfound time and hobbies may not be the only thing “new” to those working from home. In the past couple of years, we have had an influx of patients coming into our physiotherapy center with complaints such as lower back pain, neck pain, and even feet pain but “nothing has changed” in their lives since we were all stuck working from home.

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One of the reasons why complaints of chronic pain started increasing despite not being able to do anything after the lockdown occurred, is in fact, because people were not able to do anything. Staying at home meant moving around less, which meant more hours spent sedentary.

When working in the office, the amount of walking on a daily basis tends to go unnoticed. Walks to the meeting room, bathroom, pantry, restaurants; they add up and contribute to the amount of “physical activity” we experience every day.

At home, the need to walk around significantly decreases: meetings take place online, the kitchens and bathrooms are much closer.

On top of that, the workplace setting at home may not be ideal for the body. Some homes may not have been built and designed for the purpose of working a desk job for hours on end.

Considering the patients that have visited us since the pandemic, many of them work at their kitchen table or island, on the sofa, some even worked from the comforts of their own bed!

These settings are not ergonomically efficient and less than ideal for the human body as the chances of hunching, squinting, and slouching are much higher. Staying for too long in these positions is detrimental to the body and can contribute to chronic pain, especially in the lower back and neck.

Prolonged sitting and sitting posture

While staying too long in one position can be detrimental, doing too much can be equally damaging. Those who started to work on their health by working out at home have also sustained a fair share of injuries. There is nothing wrong with exercising at home, but when done wrongly or excessively, common injuries are bound to surface.

Prolonged sitting and sitting posture

The way we sit and where we sit play an important role in our lives when it comes to preventing chronic injuries. Here is a list of common complaints of common injuries that have come through our doors throughout this pandemic:

  • Neck pain (which can lead to headaches and migraine for some people)
  • Lower back pain
  • Hip pain
  • Shoulder pain

Neck, shoulder, hip, and lower back pain are the most common injuries, not just from working from home but from prolonged sitting in general. Humans were not built to just sit for eight hours, our bodies are accustomed to regular movement.

 There have been studies to show that prolonged sitting, whether or not an individual is already suffering from a prior back injury, has been found to cause discomfort in the lower back and neck about 30-60 minutes in.

These are studies done with proper sitting desks and chairs. Many people do not have access to a comfortable ergonomic set up at home, nor do they have ample resources to spend on fancy adjustable tables and proper chairs.

The reason why discomfort and pain occur with prolonged sitting is because the muscles of the lower back, hip, and lower limb are either stretched or shortened for an extended period.

This will cause the muscles to stiffen up, thus, changing the mechanics of joints such as the hip joint, knee joint, and lumbopelvic complex. To put this into context: the hip flexor shortens, tightens up and changes the mechanics of the hip.

This is reflected in a study conducted on the effects of prolonged sitting on hip extension, which found that there was 6.1. This is a prime example of the kind of mechanics that contribute to chronic back pain.

The above highlights consequences of prolonged sitting with proper posture in an ergonomic setting, which worsen if the workspace is not ideal for the individual.

Improper workspaces exacerbate the tightness in muscles, especially muscles of the neck, chest, hip flexors, lower back, and glutes.

Improper workspaces exacerbate the tightness in muscles, especially muscles of the neck, chest, hip flexors, lower back, and glutes.

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Aside from physical ailments, a lack of physical activity can also lead to health problems caused by non-comminicable diseases. Sitting at a desk for eight hours is commonly associated with lack minimal physical activity due to the lack of movement. This can lead to health problems like obesity, hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol.

Currently, much debate surrounds the following question: if an individual spends eight hours sitting down working, but spends an hour before or after work exercising, would the individual still be classified under a “sedentary lifestyle” even though the minimal physical activity criteria has been met?

Excessive Exercise or Improper Exercise

On the other end of the spectrum, for those who have found a new love for exercising, there may also be an increase in risk of injury.

Those that haven’t had the time to exercise prior to working from home may start an exercise regime too intense for them unknowingly and may injure themselves as their muscles have not been conditioned to withstand the overload.

In a different case, those who are not accustomed to exercise may not have proper form or technique, thus leading to an injury.

Improper technique and wrong muscles being used repetitively over an extended period of time leads to compensation of other structures in the body and causes injuries.

For example, performing a squat with kissing knees could lead to medial knee pain in the long run as too much force is going through the inner thigh.

Above, we spoke about how muscle tightness and joint stiffness are caused by prolonged sitting (proper or improper). Some exercises aggravate the tightness and stiffness of these muscles and joints, eliciting pain or aggravating an injury.

A common example is doing excessive push ups with tight chest muscles. Because the chest muscles are already tight, the push up technique could change, causing the shoulder complex to compensate and get injured.

Even with sitting properly for the full eight hours of work, humans will still be susceptible to injuries. There is no “ideal” way of sitting to entirely prevent discomfort and injuries. The best advice anyone can give in order to keep the common injuries at bay is to remember to:

  • Always keep moving
  • Exercise properly
  • Stretch

The key word is “prolonged”: it is imperative to avoid prolonged sitting. Getting up to go for a walk and stretch every 30-60 minutes will get the muscles moving and blood circulating.

If you want to know more about common injuries as a result of MCO/qurantine life, feel free to give us a call at 03-50315946 or send us a Whatsapp or Make an Appointment. We at Rehamed Therapy are always here to help!

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