As the pandemic struck, leaving no stones unturned, the world has come to an unprecedented halt. From the bubonic plagues to the Influenzic outbreaks, pandemics have from times immemorial pushed people to lock themselves in isolation. Of course, self-isolation to prevent contracting or spreading pathogens has its pros and comes with a cost that most of us merely realize. The complacence of being in a safe-environment nowadays is a must, but is it enough?

The majority of the people, especially the ones who have a mainstream work schedule, are working from their homes, slouching into their computer screens and sitting in uncanny postures on their sofas and beds. The lingering work hours and such persistent postures can severely affect our backs.

I believe, there are three primary reasons as to how our spinal column is prone to harm. Firstly, it is the place where we usually work: beds, sofas, recliners, or sometimes rocking armchairs. Working from home has become superficially comfortable, but there is a severe problem in the ambush. The postures we maintain at these places put an extra pound of strain on our vertebral column and, the first thing that emanates from these uncanny positions is the back pain, which takes you mildly in the beginning, but may severe with time, laying out myriad opportunities for our vertebrae to get disoriented or damaged. If you do not have a chair or a table, work on a dining table. If you don’t have it either, sit on the floor, while keeping your back straight against the wall. However, it is still necessary to put keep your laptop screen on the eye level. Stack some books beneath it maybe! Books come handy!

Secondly, we are foregoing exercise. Exercise is vital— especially when you don’t have a privilege to hit a gym or go out on a brisk walk. For the sake of a healthy back, it is indispensable that you engage yourself in some sort of motion, especially where most of the muscles of your body engage. You don’t have a treadmill? Or a jump rope? Maybe you could skip a Netflix binge and watch a home workout video on Youtube and shed hundreds of calories at home. Walk around your house, at least for twenty minutes. Briskly!

You could help your spouse in daily household chores. Yes, it has a positive, whenever you take care of the place you live in, you tend to feel positive about yourselves. It’s been years you’ve swept the floor or dusted the ceilings? Changed an old fan into a new one? Grab the opportunity and get things done. There are tons of pending chores in your very own house. You just need a sharp eye!

Thirdly, it is the stealthy devil in most of the cases—our perturbed minds. We are losing jobs, our clients, our relationships are pushed into long-distances, our entrepreneurial endeavors are collapsing, natal careers are at stake, social life has devolved, and lungs are gasping for fresh air. The pandemic has severed our lives, but worrying and overthinking will worsen it more. If we are anxious, we tend to develop myriad vertebral problems. Amidst the pandemic, as our minds lie idle, a cascading spate of bad thoughts swarms and multiplies. Meditation must set you free. And exercise too! If it is not helping, consult a mental health professional online. Professional advice is always efficacious.

Moreover, our ever-growing laziness amidst the pandemic insists on our inner devils to order food online. Can’t we cook? Eating healthy is necessary. A balanced and healthy diet, two liters of water—what else does our humble body demand? Healthy food improves metabolism, allows organs to shed the extra strain, and makes you happy. It is necessary while working to take intermittent breaks, as you do with your colleagues in the office.  And remember, don’t sit idle. Movement is your messiah!

However, it should be noted, people with a history of underlying back problems have to seek professional advice.

Dr. Shantanu Sharma is an Author, Physiotherapist, and Speaker who lives in Hyderabad. With close to 10 years of experience treating back and neck pain patients, he has written a book on prevention of back pain aptly titled “Watch Your Back: Simple Tips To Prevent Back Pain”.

(As told to Peerzada Muzamil)