As people continue to work remotely due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, doctors are seeing increasing cases of new or worsening back, neck and shoulder pain among young adults.
Sick shoulder syndrome, also known as shoulder dyskinesia, is the abnormal function/flexibility of the shoulder (scapula) within the shoulder joint.
“Post a start WFH . culture And amid the pandemic, there has been a 20-25 per cent increase in sick shoulder syndrome cases in young adults aged 30-45,” Dr. Raghu Nagaraj, Senior Consultant, Orthopedics and Orthopedic and Joint Surgery, Fortis Hospital, Cunningham Road, Bengaluru , he told IANS.
Athletes typically have a 61 percent higher prevalence of shoulder dyskinesia than non-athletes. However, current work from home culture (WFH) with poor sitting posture or continued sitting for hours without a break has led to such cases among the working general public.
The most common symptoms are pain and difficulty moving the shoulder or arm.
“The number of cases of musculoskeletal problems has been observed either due to inactivity or increased exercise throughout the lockdown period. Cases of poor posture are being observed, especially now when physical sitting in offices has started to go offline and posture has changed as we had our bodies adapted while working from home, and it needs to be changed, Dr Shobhang Agarwal, a robotic orthopedic and joint replacement surgeon and founder of the NHS Hospital in Jalandhar, told IANS.
“The incidence of sick shoulder syndrome, particularly in IT professionals, reception and office staff, has increased suddenly and needs close monitoring for diagnosis. Once suspected, aggressive behavioral modification with exercise can help,” he added.
The shoulder joint is somewhat similar to a ball and handle joint and is made up of three bones: the humerus (upper arm bone), scapula (shoulder bone), and collarbone (clavicle). The highest point of the humerus forms the ball which lies within the glenoid of the scapula.
While the amazing arrangement of muscles and ligaments—including the rotator cuff—holds the ball and socket upward, the scapula acts as an anchor site for the various muscles around the shoulder. The shoulder bone (acromion) is also connected to the collarbone to form the acromioclavicular (AC) joint.
“In a work-from-home environment, poor posture at work and prolonged muscle movement may strain the scapula or adjacent areas. Be careful about restoring good posture—standing and sitting properly—while performing daily activities, warming up and cooling down operations before and after workouts, on Running, and avoiding range of motion when lifting, especially overhead, may be beneficial,” Dr. Rajat Mahajan, spine surgeon, Indian Spinal Injuries Center, New Delhi, told IANS.
While sedentary work is indispensable, people should take appropriate measures such as exercising daily, maintaining correct posture and taking breaks from their seats between work. Getting up from the seat and walking while taking phone calls, not using the phone, will alleviate the problem. Doctors have advised that choosing a chair that provides support and comfort can also be helpful.