Living in a post-COVID-19 world entails that we take care of our health, not just physical, but also mental, emotional, and spiritual—depending on your belief system. These days, we can’t afford to ignore any pain or symptoms we may experience because we never know what illness or disease they may be a sign of. At the same time, we need to manage our bodies well if we want to survive these difficult times and if we want to lessen the burden on our healthcare providers, especially if we can help it.
But here’s a disclaimer: If your pain has been chronic and over-the-counter pain medications have not been able to keep it at bay, consider consulting with a pain management clinic. You may practice all the pain-relieving habits, but at the end of the day, if you don’t address the root of the problem, the pain will just come back eventually. So consult with an expert about how you’re feeling and allow them to help you get to the bottom of the symptom.
With that said, here are some everyday habits you can build to combat run-of-the-mill body aches like back pain, neck strain, muscle pain, headaches, and others.
Choose ergonomic furniture for your office.
Ergonomics is simply the art and science of choosing furniture and items that allow you to move your body in healthy ways. For example, not all office furniture is created equal. Did you know that to prevent your neck and back from long-term damage or injury, your office chair needs to allow you to sit in a way that allows for good lumbar support (meaning it should be flush against the small of your back). An ergonomic office chair also allows for neck support, keeping it level with your upper back. Your elbow, arm, and wrist should also be in a neutral position when using your mouse and keyboard. Your monitor should also be placed at least 20 inches away from you. Keeping your office ergonomic may seem like a tedious task, but it’s one of the crucial ways to protect your body from pain and strain.
Make it a point to move your body at least once a day.
Of course, the optimal way to keep yourself healthy is still through exercise—and the WHO (World Health Organization) recommends at least 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise a day for adults. Still, even the simple act of getting up to stretch every hour while working can do wonders for your body. Set a timer every two hours or so to allow yourself to stretch and move your body in between tasks. Then do some “deskercises,” which are stretches you can do from your chair.
Rest your eyes from looking at screens all day.
Experts found that sitting while staring at a screen for more than four hours a day can increase your chances of death by any cause by 50%. This means that you need to move at least every 30 minutes and rest, not just your body but also your eyes. Gazing at your screen for long periods of time can also cause eyestrain and headaches.
When you do your stretches, make it a point to look away from your screen. And more than just sitting stretches, make a habit of walking around your house or your yard while taking intermittent breaks. Allow your body some time to recover from sitting too long and your eyes from looking at bright screens the whole day. The work will still be there when you get back to your desk.
Avoid or quit smoking.
Smoking may not necessarily cause body pain per se, but it can aggravate it. Almost everyone already knows about the harmful effects of cigarettes and their ingredients. Still, not many know that smoking can slow down the body’s capacity to heal, worsen circulation, increase the chances of developing degenerative disc problems, and cause more back pain. If you’re a smoker, the perfect time to quit was yesterday. Give your body a fighting chance by kicking the habit.
Listen to Your Body
If any part of your body has been aching, don’t ignore it. Listen to the signs and symptoms and what it’s trying to tell you. Pain is one of the ways our body tells us something is wrong, and to heal the ache that we’re feeling on the surface, we need to be able to address its root cause. Don’t hesitate to consult with your doctor about what you’re feeling and create healthy habits that can heal and re-calibrate your body.