Back and shoulder strain
As we traded an office for the home living room, we set up makeshift desks with books piled onto of each other, or in some instances simply worked from bed. But while it might sound like the ideal work set-up, the reality is far removed. As a result, we’re dealing with more back, neck and shoulder strains than ever before. When you consider the addition of stress that can also lead to physical tension in the body, it’s not hard to see why so many of us are requiring a fistful of Ibuprofen simply to make it out of bed in the morning without searing aches.
It’s not surprising then, that complaints of neck, shoulder and back pain have risen across the past year. As we spend more time on desktops and staring down at our smartphones, the position is one that leads to pain. While adjusting your computer screen to be at eye level is something that can minimise the pain, holding the position for too long won’t get you anywhere. Asa result, doctors recommend the “20, 8, and 2” rule - 20 minutes of sitting, broken up with eight minutes of standing and two of walking.
Given the stress and anxiety many of us are feeling currently, the fact that dentists have seen an increase in people presenting with worn and chipped teeth since the pandemic began isn’t hard to believe. As Outside suggests, “Many people channel prolonged stress into teeth clenching and grinding at night. According to an American Dental Association survey published in March, dentists saw increases of more than 60 per cent in clenching and grinding, cracked or chipped teeth, and jaw pain compared to pre-pandemic stats.”
Teeth grinding is a tricky issue, as many of us are unknowingly grinding away at night. To combat this, health practitioners suggest consulting your local dentist and taking a dental exam, to ensure there isn’t too much damage and, should grinding be an issue, a night guard can be recommended.
Prior to the pandemic, no-one knew what Zoom was let alone had it installed on their phones. Now, our days revolve around the countless Zoom meetings we have scheduled (which, let’s face it, really could just be an email). Whether it’s a quest to simply communicate with others or a desire to see just what your colleagues’ home interiors look like, we spend most of our working day now staring into a computer camera. As a result, it’s led many people to stare at their own complexions, analysing what they dislike and what needs to be fixed. Consequently, dermatologists are coining this age as that of “Zoom dysphoria,” and they’ve seen a surge in cosmetic consultations.
A study published in the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology found that more than half of the dermatologists surveyed saw an increase in cosmetic consultations during the pandemic. 86 per cent of those said that patients reported seeing themselves in video conferencing as a reason for their visit. These warped perceptions of our own selves were compounded by increased time on social media, where filters now have many of us feeling unhappy with our actual appearance. Experts have suggested spending less time on screen, and that definitely helps. But more importantly: focus on the priorities - your health. Get outdoors when you can, soak in the sunshine, move your body and be kind to yourself. Lockdown isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to take a physical toll on your body, too.