Doctors know that the last thing to come on in most disease processes or health problems is symptoms. The underlying condition is usually brewing for a while before you know you have it.
Well… after a year in this pandemic, there are many issues rearing their heads. Depression, loneliness, anxiety, and weight gain are on that list. One thing that we are seeing very regularly these days is what I am calling Home Office Syndrome.
With people moving from working at their offices (at work) to working remotely from home, most have found themselves working in makeshift spaces. These often include desks that are too tall or too short, chairs that are not designed for sitting all day, computer screens that are too low or high, and phone systems that are uncomfortable.
The result of having these horrendous setups wasn’t noticeable at first. The human body is resilient, often doing as good as it can for as long as it can… until it can’t. So, after months of these long hours in this non-ergonomic environment, problems are starting to pop up. We are seeing so many cases of lower back pain, sciatica, neck pain, headaches, numbness in the arms and hands, and tightness and pain between the shoulder blades.
The common story attached to these problems is that they have been working from home, at the kitchen table, on their laptop instead of their pc, sitting in a dining room chair, and unable to use the headset that they typically use at work. Combine this with the stress of the pandemic, the isolation that comes with being alone at home, and longer periods of sitting because there is no way to get up, wander around, and gossip with co-workers.
So, what’s my recommendation? I have two. If you are going to be continuing to work from home, or if you will be doing a hybrid plan during which you will split time between the office and your home, you MUST invest in creating a comfortable, ergonomically correct, and spine-friendly environment in your home. You will prevent big health issues that are otherwise almost guaranteed to show up. You will be more productive with your work. You will be less wiped out at the end of the day. And you’ll feel better overall.
Second, if you are struggling with any of the above-mentioned health complaints, you should get checked. Caught early enough, we have a very high success rate of correcting these issues. The symptoms you are feeling… pain, tightness, numbness, throbbing, burning… are signals that your body is sending you to alert you that something is wrong.
Medication may reduce the intensity of those signals, and may give you temporary relief, but if the underlying condition is not addressed, you will end up with bigger, possibly permanent, damage.
I’m writing about this issue, Home Office Syndrome, because we are seeing new patients struggling with it every day. And most say the same thing once we take care of them… I wish I would have come to you sooner. And these words often come after just a visit or two.
If you are working from home and experiencing any health issues, they may be from being in a different work environment for the past several months. Take action immediately! Invest in a better work station. And let us try to help. A simple exam gives us all the information we need to help get you on a path to less pain, more energy, and better health. We can also help determine what steps you need to take to make working from home not just manageable, but ideal. Stop suffering from Home Office Syndrome today. We can help!