Within the past five months, Simon Ojo visits the pharmacy every now and then to buy pain relief medicines. The Oyo State indigene, who works as a programmer at a telecommunications firm on Lagos Island, said since the COVID-19 pandemic struck,
a large number of the company’s employees had been required to work from home. Even when businesses were asked to reopen, he said his employer requested that they keep working from home for the time being as a precaution against contracting the corona virus.
Because his work involves using computers a lot, Ojo said he usually developed back pain often, lamenting that he did not know what to do to prevent the recurrence of the ache.
He said, “I spend about 10 hours every day on my laptop. Even before the pandemic, I used to spend eight hours at work and when I got home, I could still spend between two and three hours on the laptop before I went to bed.
“The situation has not changed now. I still spend that long on my laptop. But the challenge I usually have is back pain. When it comes, I can’t stand straight; I won’t even be able to handle the doorknob. It’s always serious. That is why I usually frequent the pharmacy to get pain relief medicines for the pain.”
From Ojo’s chat with our correspondent, the economy may be reopening but some businesses are still requiring their employees to work from home as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19 – since new cases are still being recorded every day with no proven cure yet for the disease.
But even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck in December 2019, workers in many countries across the world worked either partly or fully from home. There are also many entrepreneurs whose businesses don’t require physical offices, hence they mainly sit behind their computers working from home and connecting with their clients globally via the Internet.
This is because, in the digital era, many jobs have become globalized, meaning they are not restricted to a particular location. For instance, a Nigerian living in Nigeria might be working for an American company using an Internet-enabled computer.
With the COVID-19, many people are now perhaps working from home, which implies that people are spending more time on their computers.
Meanwhile, as with every job, anyone whose work revolves around the computer also has their own challenges.
For instance, such people may have noticed that they experience back pain from time to time, and this is primarily because most people who use computers don’t use ergonomic furniture and accessories designed to prevent issues such as back pain. Most computer users who experience back pain are likely to be using their computers on a regular table, kitchen countertop, lounge chair or bed.
According to experts, the truth is anyone using their computer in such manners aren’t doing so in a healthy posture. If one does this for only short periods of time, there might not be any need to worry, but when one does this often, they may be on the road to a potentially debilitating musculoskeletal injury such as a bad back, sore neck and shoulders, carpal tunnel syndrome or even a deep vein thrombosis, which is a condition in which blood clots form in the veins deep in the body.
So, what can computer users do? The solution is to spend as much time as one can working in a neutral posture – a comfortable body position where no body part is awkwardly bent or twisted – and periodically move around to promote circulation.
For computer users, the following 10 tips culled from time.com are worth paying attention to to avoid back pain;
So ensure you sit in a way that the natural lordotic curve of your lumbar spine is supported.
Make sure that you can sit back in your chair so some of your body weight is being supported by the chair back and sit close enough to comfortably reach your keyboard and mouse. If the chair does not have good lower-back support, use a cushion or rolled-up towel behind your lower back. It’s a cheap and less effective substitute for an ergonomic chair, but it’s better than nothing.
Standing for extended periods of time also increases the risks of varicose veins (faulty valves in the veins that allow blood to flow in the wrong direction). Stand and walk around to make or take phone calls. Every 20 to 30 minutes, stand, stretch, and move around for a minute or two to promote circulation and relax muscles. Walk to get a glass of water or make tea or coffee. Don’t try to work for hours while standing up.
As a reminder, the more you can work on the computer in a neutral posture, and the more you can move around, the less the chance of back pain or other injuries.