Working From Home Can Lead to More Aches, Pains

Working from home for many people can be -- quite literally -- a pain in the neck.

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Karina Diaz has had back problems her entire life but says the pain became unbearable in April.

“After about a month of working from home, at first it started with neck pain then it got to the point that I couldn’t even sit properly,” Diaz said. 

The paralegal says after weeks of sitting on her couch and bed doing work on her laptop, she developed several herniated discs in her neck and back. 

“The pain would go from my neck down to my left arm all the way to my fingertips,” Diaz said. “Just pain would shoot down my leg.”

Dr. Justin Thottam says more patients have been having the same problems since the pandemic forced many to work from home. 

“We just see more people coming in,” said Thottam, a physiatrist with Miami Neuroscience Institute. 

He says from March to August, he’s had a 31% increase in patients coming in with back issues. 

“Coming in with walkers when they were able to walk without any problems before,” Thottam said. “Patients who are kind of hobbled over, can’t stand up straight.”

Thottam says not sitting in a chair at a desk can cause slouching. 

“They’ll go to the couch or their bed and after a while that doesn’t get good either because your posture is all over the place,” the doctor said. 

The most common issues he treats are herniated discs, arthritic changes, muscle problems and shoulder problems. 

He suggests doing exercises every hour, getting an office chair, or changing your sitting position while working from home. 

As for Diaz, she’s feeling much better after getting steroid injections in her neck and back. 

“So much better,” Diaz said. “I mean, I went rock climbing.”

The mother of two says she’s almost back to her old self, working out and being active. 

“I joined the gym so I’m going to go a lot more,” she said. 

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