Are You Managing Your Pain Well For Work?
Pain is a distressing feeling which not only impacts our physical wellbeing but also our emotional and psychological state. Even though pain is subjective, with each individual responding to stimuli and resultant sensation differently, pain is undeniably an unpleasant experience. It is one of the most common reasons for doctor consultations, and if it persists long enough, it has the potential to interfere with one’s daily functioning and quality of life. Given the pandemic induced new work-from-home reality and work shifting online for long hours, emergence and exacerbation of aches and pains will emerge as a challenge for many.
Be it acute or chronic pain, its functional impact ranging from being a minor irritant to manifesting as a major impediment establishes a strong case for understanding possible causes and their focused redressal. Now more so, given work-from-home scenario.
What are some common causes of pain?
- Medical conditions and grounds aside, a common genesis of aches and pains is posture related – an unmindful, habitual way of going about our daily life activities, work and chores. I’ve also covered this in a series of articles for THE HINDU newspaper. Please read by clicking on this link and this link.)
- Poor form is directly proportional to poor function, which in turn directly translates to degree and life cycle of pain.
- Basic daily actions like sitting, standing, sleeping, moving, pushing, pulling, twisting etc. when performed without proper posture/technique and mindful engagement of body become a hotbed from which musculoskeletal stress, aches and pains tend to spring. And stick.
- Repetition fosters chronicity.
If you listen to your body when it whispers, you won’t have to hear it scream.
So what can one do to mitigate or avoid pain?
Understand Ergonomics and address it. “Ergonomic” is defined as ‘relating to or designed for efficiency and comfort in the working environment’. This relates to how your work station is set up to provide maximum postural support and minimum deviation. It also includes posture and habits related to sleeping, standing, sitting and moving. A few pointers that could help as a checklist:
- Height and design of chairs, tables and position of laptop/desktop screens etc. should be set up to support spine and joints to reduce postural deviation induced stresses and pains (head, neck, shoulders, wrists, back, hips, knee)
- Check and address sleeping posture (sleeping surface/mattress, pillow design & position, preferred body position/side while sleeping). Many lower back and neck/cervical pain issues emerge from here.
- Avoid being stationary or maintaining same position for long as it adds to anatomical stress. Taking periodic breaks, moving about, stretching and practicing deep breathing are easy solutions to help avoid/alleviate pains and provide much needed relief to muscles and joints.
- Try use speaker option of phone if on phone for long time. Cradling phone with neck tilt while doing work is a sure shot invitation to pain.
- Where possible use a larger screen device instead of the smaller phone screen. Either way, be mindful of head and neck position (forward tilt)
- Exercise and stretch regularly. While rest is often vital to allow pain to subside, pain management is incomplete without building strength or elasticity of compromised parts. Movement and mobilization cannot be ignored. A right combination of exercising and stretching plays a key role in recovering from pain and restoring functional constraints caused by it.
- For those already afflicted with pains it’s even more important to do all these and diligently perform prescribed rehab exercises and stretches during the day.
- Consistency and regularity of performing prescribed modalities for pain management is vital to positive outcomes. Pain is the body’s response to something going/gone wrong and the more severe or chronic it is the more patient, consistent and honest one has to be to address underlying causes.
- Listen to your body. It always speaks to you. Acknowledge it and work with it to progress to a healthier, happier state.
- Mental stress has as much a causal correlation to physical stress (pain) as vice versa. Address stress.
It would bode well to realize that pain is not a badge to be worn as measure of work. You may ignore it, but it won’t ignore you. Work smart and treat your body right.
About Vani Pahwa
Vani B. Pahwa is Health & Wellness Evangelist, and Founder, Body In Motion, who specializes in Functional-Fitness, and Cancer Exercise & Rehabilitation. With almost 2 decades of experience, and certifications from leading internationally-accredited and globally-recognized fitness institutions, Vani is the leading Wellness Expert for Multinational Corporations and is a recognized Speaker and Coach. An Indian Classical Dancer, Vani encompasses her learnings from dance to everyday movement making “exercise and training for life, not just events.” To know more about Vani and her premium wellness services, visit https://www.bodyinmotion.in