As the COVID-19 pandemic forced many to work from home, it is clear that “work from anywhere” is not a temporary situation, but rather a part of what many have dubbed “the new normal.” Whether it’s a total shift to remote work, or some kind of hybrid schedule, professionals across the globe will find themselves logging on from home, or other unique locations, more often than ever before.
The very nature of working from anywhere can cause unexpected and unwanted injury. But the risk is not just tied to your desk – there are other aspects of working from home that can wreak havoc on your hips and other joints that you may not have considered.
What exactly are the injuries that could be on the rise as remote work becomes more common, if not the norm? And, as we see the culture of work shift, what can professionals do to transition them at-home workspaces to a more permanent situation to avoid these specific injuries?
Sitting All Day: Tight Hips, Neck Pain, and Sore Shoulders
Working from home and social distancing has led to prolonged sitting for many. And while this may seem like a nice break from always being on the run, sitting can be detrimental to your health, causing muscle tightness and soreness that can lead to serious pain.
For example, tight hip flexors from sitting too long can worsen over time to seriously impact your posture or ability to stand up straight. Furthermore, erosion of cartilage in the joints can cause them to rub together, leading to pain, instability, and potentially the need for hip surgery later.
Luckily, there are practices you can do to avoid this and improve your hip health long-term. These stretches are a good place to start.
Casual Workspace and Dress Code: Slips, Distractions, and Falls
Your home office is more casual than your traditional one. And with that comes comfier attire – think pajamas and no shoes. While this does not seem like a situation ripe for injury, socks and hardwood floors or stairs are a combination that can leave you more susceptible to slips and falls. This common accident can cause a direct blow to the hip, twisting of the leg or ankle, or even a broken hip or pelvis.
Additionally, your casual home workspace comes with distractions that aren’t common in typical workspaces, like kids, pets, everyday household chores, and more. These responsibilities make you run back and forth and can cause the same kinds of slips, falls, and hip injuries.
Finding Solutions That Work for You
Customizing your new at-home workspace to fit your definition of the “new normal” is key. Start to think of it as a permanent solution and invest in workspace improvements that can minimize accidents and injury – an ergonomic chair and sturdy desk are a great place to start. Find a new routine that allows for as many distraction-free pockets of time as possible, and make sure to get up and walk around whenever you can.
If you are experiencing hip pain, chronic or acute knee pain, limited movement, or other knee and joint problems there are medical treatments that can help. Call me, Douglas J. Roger, M.D, at 1-760-416-4511. I practice with the Institute of Clinical Orthopedics and Neuroscience in the Desert Regional Medical Center the office is located at 1180 N Indian Canyon Drive W201, Palm Springs, CA 92262.
I look forward to providing you with the prompt, high-quality care you need when you need it!