How to Ease Your Quarantine Aches and Pains
Here’s why your body hurts and what you can do about it
Back tight? Knees sore? You’re not alone. It’s been just over a month since the first “shelter in place” order was issued in America — nearly one month since many of us were asked to physically isolate our already stressed-out, suboptimally nourished, sleep-deprived bodies to our homes (residences that may or may not be set up for working) — and it’s taking its toll.
“One of the reasons people are starting to feel not great is that their environment isn’t conducive to what their body needs,” says physical therapist Kelly Starrett, DPT, owner and operator of The Ready State Virtual Mobility Coach and author of Deskbound: Standing Up to a Sitting World. “We’ve gotten stiff from not moving enough.”
Now here’s the good news: It doesn’t take a lot to start feeling better. Aside from prioritizing stress relief (getting adequate sleep can go a long way), the experts say adjusting your environment and building more purposeful, non-exercise movement into your day will do wonders.
Optimize Your Workstation
Even if you’re lucky enough to have a home office, that doesn’t guarantee you’re set up for ergonomic success. “We’re sitting in positions that aren’t necessarily the correct position, and for longer,” says Jessica Dorrington, PT, MPT, OCS, CMPT, PRPC, CSCS, director of physical therapy at Therapeutic Associates Bethany Physical Therapy in Portland, Oregon. “So we’re starting to see more neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand pain — things that could easily be solved by just changing what our computer station looks like.”
Start with your computer
One of the biggest obstacles facing people who’ve been thrust into remote work is that they’re often using a laptop instead of a desktop computer. “Laptops can be good for very short periods, but from an ergonomic standpoint, they’re a bit of a nightmare,” says Dorrington.