What you need to know:
- After sitting for about 30 min, stand and move around a bit. There are also exercises that can be done while sited and there’s also chair yoga.
- You can get a desk addition that allows you to work while standing. You can also choose to walk when you are on phone calls or walk to a colleague’s desk instead of calling or sending an email.
I have been experiencing persistent back pain and I am concerned about potential complications in the future. My job primarily involves sitting for extended periods. Could you please advise me on whether this sedentary work lifestyle could lead to complications or long-term issues with my back?
The back pain that you have been having may be due to:
•Sitting for very long every day.
•Sitting on a chair that does not support the back well.
•Poor posture chair.
These factors individually or combined can lead to muscle spasms and ligament strain and stress the intervertebral discs. This can lead to chronic back pain and may affect functionality and quality of life. In addition, sitting for long increases the risk of developing obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, high cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease.
After sitting for about 30 min, stand and move around a bit. There are also exercises that can be done while sited and there’s also chair yoga. You can get a desk addition that allows you to work while standing. You can also choose to walk when you are on phone calls or walk to a colleague’s desk instead of calling or sending an email. The increased activity improves the muscle tone and also reduces the risk of metabolic illnesses. You also need to get a comfortable chair as prescribed by a physical therapist.
The correct posture is to sit upright, with the back straight, at 90 degrees to your thighs, which should also be at 90 degrees to your legs. Your elbows should lie comfortably on your desk at chest level and if you are using a computer, it should be at eye level, about 30cm from you. Do not hunch over when typing or writing, do not sit or type or write at an angle and do not slouch on your chair, both in the office and at home. You should sit up even when watching TV and also stand and walk upright.
It is also advisable to see an orthopaedic specialist for examination and tests like xrays and MRI scan that can be done to find out the exact cause of the persistent back pain. Treatment includes medications for pain, both oral, and injections; stretching exercises, physiotherapy, massage, or surgery, if required.
My son is 11 years old, and he has frequent headaches, especially on school days and also when he plays video games for long. He has been examined by the doctors several times and has even had tests done that turned out normal. What could be the problem?
Dear worried mother,
It seems that your son may have a problem with the eyesight. This may be due to short sightedness, astigmatism, digital eye strain or light sensitivity.
For us to see, light enters the eye through the cornea and the lens of the eye, which bend (refract) the light to focus the rays of light on the retina at the back of the eye (similar to camera film). When you are short/near sighted, the rays of light end up being focused somewhere in front of the retina, so you do not see the object very clearly. This can happen because the eye ball is too long or there is a problem with the cornea or the lens, causing less effective light bending. As a result, there’s a problem seeing things that are far, but you can see near things clearly. It may also cause straining of the eyes and headaches. The eye sight grows worse until around 18 years of age, when you stop growing.
In astigmatism, the cornea and the lens have an abnormal shape and therefore do not bend (refract) the light properly. This leads to blurry vision, either from near and/or far objects.
He may also be experiencing digital eye strain. Figures on a screen are usually not very well defined, the contrast with the screen background is reduced and the glare of the screen plus reflections all make your eye muscles work harder when looking at screens including video games. Also, the distance from the screen and the angles used can compound the problem. In addition, a lot of screen time can cause the eyes to become dry.
Light sensitivity means there is discomfort or pain on being exposed to outdoor or indoor light. It may be a consequence of eye inflammation, dry eyes, illnesses of the nerves and brain. Light sensitivity may also develop as a consequence of a headache such as migraine headaches, meaning that the headache starts first then light sensitivity develops.
Symptoms of eye problems include headaches, straining of the eyes, blurred vision, dry eyes with a feeling of having something in the eye, and neck and shoulder pain from poor seating posture.
Check to see if your son seems to strain when looking at things in other situations, especially those that are at a distance. Also ask the class teacher if he or she has noticed the same with your child. He needs to have an eye exam by an eye doctor to find out if he might need glasses or other treatment. You can request that your son be moved to sit closer to the board in school. He should also spend less time on screens - TV, computers, video games and phones, and also to take a lot of water.
It’s advisable for him to be reviewed by an eye specialist (ophthalmologist), where tests will be done to examine the eyes. Short/near sightedness and astigmatism can be corrected using spectacles/glasses or contact lenses. There are other ways to correct the eye sight like use of intraocular lenses (lenses placed inside the eye) and refractive surgery, like laser surgery, which can be done in some people. Light sensitivity is best managed by treating the underlying condition that is triggering it.
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