Does Remote Work Contribute To Musculoskeletal Disorders? – [Infographic]
The global workforce's current reliance on remote work has proven to lessen many employees' susceptibility of contracting the coronavirus.
However, remote work has also proven to take a toll on the engaging employee's physical health, causing them to experience muscle pain and fatigue. However, the coronavirus isn't primarily to blame.
In 2018, way before the immediate surge in remote work, many in the American workforce were already suffering from musculoskeletal disorders. In fact, it was found that back pain alone can lead to 264 million lost work days annually, which fizzles down to people missing an average of 12 days of work annually.
Even the simplest activities we consider necessary for our daily routines can cause injury to the muscles. Generally, overusing, misusing, tiring, and accidentally injuring our muscles contribute to strain. More specifically, activities such as lengthy desk sitting can lead to biomechanical instability, muscle tightness, and pain.
However, molded posture isn't the only way remote work contributes to muscle strain. Repetitive activities, such as constant typing, can lead to muscle tightness and pain in the hands and wrists. If you notice symptoms of sudden pain, soreness and swelling, tightness and limited movement range, or stiffness, spasms, or weakness, consult with a medical professional for treatment. Even minor issues can lead to long-term injuries, so it's important to treat muscle discomfort correctly before it gets worse.
According to a 2017 study by the Global Burden of Disease, musculoskeletal conditions were a main contributor to disability worldwide. In other words, many are numb to suffering from muscle tightness - which is a sign of weakness. Atypical to the mindset we've become accustomed to, there are several solutions for treating muscle pain. For example, physical and massage therapies, or muscle activation techniques.
For some issues, physical therapy can be as effective as surgery, and can even prevent unnecessary operations. Get this: a 2018 study showed that 43% of respondents were suffering from lower back pain, and a 2015 study found that massaged muscles had a higher blood vessel count than non-massaged ones. Scientifically, blood vessels are thought to be connected to improved pain recovery - signifying massage therapy's effectiveness.
Similarly, Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) also helps patients improve their muscle stability and function. MAT analyzes the patient's range of motion to pinpoint their muscle dysfunction, uses muscle-specific palpation to activate dysfunctional muscles, and implements position-specific isometrics to improve muscle function. Following treatment, 85% of patients report positive results.
Still, keep in mind that our muscles can be damaged outside of office work. Outside of the professional realm, our muscles can be injured throughout the course of our daily lives. For example, accidents and injuries are considered muscle traumas that can cause weakness and pain. Instances of falls and car accidents may injure the muscles, causing inflammation and discomfort.
Ignoring injuries can lead to increased susceptibility to injury, degenerating strength and dexterity, and progressive weakness. Knowing this, it's important to be mindful of your workplace ergonomics. Musculoskeletal disorders can affect all ages, so no one is exempt. Is your remote job causing you discomfort?
Photo by Pim Chu on Unsplash