Back and Neck Pain on the rise; How can it be Resolved during Work from Home in Lockdown

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Mehab Qureshi

Pune, June 5, 2020: Amid the stringent lockdown, Punekars have been forced to sit at home; consequently, grievances about back and neck pain cases have been reported by the hospitals.

Dr. Shailesh Hadgaonkar, Head of the Spine Unit at Sancheti Hospital, stated, ” Remaining seated for longer periods with poor posture and minimum breaks from work coupled with lack of places to go out for exercise, has led to back pain amongst the people working from home.”

Ajay Shah(name changed), 35 years old IT professional working in Pune, has been working for 10-12 hours daily from home and has been sitting in the same position. This will lead to back injury as well as neck pain. This can only be relieved if we use an ergonomically designed chair or at least exercise in intervals, shared Dr. Hadgaonkar by giving an anecdote.

Who is facing these issues?

People working in IT sectors, automobile sectors, college-going students as well as homemakers.

How can this issue be resolved?

  1. Select a chair that supports your hips and knees to bend at a 90-100 degree angle with feet flat on the ground. Use books under the laptop or pillows under you to adjust to the appropriate height.
  2. The chair should have a backrest that supports your lower back to maintain normal lordosis (curve) and armrest that keeps forearms parallel to the ground. 
  3. Keep the head and neck centered over shoulders relaxed and rolled back. Avoid Text Neck ( point 5 )
  4. Maintain the top of the laptop/ computer screen at your eye level. 
  5. Avoid text neck 

   6. Strictly avoid slouching or lounging on sofas and beds while working.

   7. 20-20-20 rule: Apply a timer to adjust your posture every 20 mins by getting get up and walking around and sitting down as per the guidelines mentioned above. Along with this, focus at an object approximately 20 feet away and blink for 20 seconds. 

 8. While doing household chores, maintain the spine curve and bend from the knees during lifting objects, sweeping floors as below.

 Exercise –  

1. Spine strengthening formula – 1.lower back + 2.neck with proper form ( see images ) as follows to maintain a flexible and pain-free spine.

– Hold each position for 5-10 seconds(as per comfort)

– Do ten repetitions of each exercise. Complete five exercises for lower back + neck each

– Repeat in 1-3 sets (As per convenience)

– 10-15 mins every day 

– Minimum once a day for 4-5 days a week

– Twice a day ( morning and evening ) more beneficial

– Do In-chair specific exercises during breaks from work every 20-30 mins to prevent stiffness.

2. Sunlight and supplements – The most underdiagnosed and undertreated deficiency in India is that of Vitamin D with a very high prevalence through various regions and age groups ranging from 70-90% (Ritu et al). Vitamin D is made in the human body with sunlight exposure to the skin. The lockdown forces us to be entirely indoors, leading to the worsening of vitamin D deficiency. Daily 10-15 mins of sunlight exposure in your windows/ balconies/ terraces are essential. If your existing levels of Vitamin D are low, oral supplements for Vitamin D along with other crucial vitamins after checking your vitamin level profile as per your local doctor is required.

3. Meditation and Breathing exercises– Mindfulness practiced through the meditation of personal choice along with breathing exercises for as little as 5 mins per day can work wonders on keeping calm demeanor and mood.


  1. Do NOT self medicate for pain

 2. Do NOT overexert by copying exercises online/ apps without appropriate fitness levels and warm-up


1. Use Teleconsultation for appropriate advice.

2. Consult an Orthopedic/ Spine surgeon if your back/ spine pain persists for four weeks. Do appropriately supervised physiotherapy.