Having to stay at home for several weeks, our lifestyles have changed. Stress, depression, loneliness... if morale has taken a hit, so has the body, especially the back! Has the evil of the century become the evil of quarantine? Aches and pains have punctuated the daily life of a large number of people.
Here's the expert opinion from an Osteopath on the side effects of this dark period on the body.
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. It is not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.
These three dimensions justify the back problems often encountered during quarantine.
Physical inactivity: main side effect of quarantine
A factor in many pathologies, physical inactivity would be at the top of the causes of osteopathic problems during quarantine. Lack of physical activity leads to a drop in muscle strength. This increases the risk of blockages and stiffness in the back.
Conversely, some have taken the opportunity to develop their gardening or DIY skills. Unsuitable positions could also cause lower back pain.
The possible downfalls of working from home
Bad posture is also very frequent among people working from home. The conditions and equipment are not necessarily suitable. The back and neck joints are often the first to suffer. This was the case for Flore, an engineer in Isère.
She says she has "chronic back problems that have worsened since quarantine. On the one hand, the conditions for working from home are not optimal. In the office, I have an ergonomic chair, a suitable desk size and a computer adjusted to the right height. At home, I work in a small area with a laptop and a chair that is not appropriate. On the other hand, the lack of physical exercise also affects pain. I am used to walking a lot every day, which is not necessarily possible in quarantine. As a result, I feel much more stiffness and tension in my muscles, especially in my back. »
The importance of psychological well-being on the body
"It is important to remember that health goes through three dimensions, not only physical well-being but also social and psychological. Mental disorders, stress, anxiety and isolation impact physical health. Psychological problems can thus lead to many pains and functional disorders, particularly in the elderly”, notes the osteopath from Isère. According to him, people aged 70 and over are the most affected by the increase in back-related problems during quarantine. We must take care of our elders!
Back problems: seniors on the front line
In addition to the increased risk of cardiovascular and neuromuscular diseases, a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of falls in the elderly. The acceleration of muscle atrophy and the reduction of functional physical capability would indeed form a dangerous cocktail. They are thus accompanied by possibilities of fractures, injuries but also an increased risk of mortality. A worrying observation which is added to the fact that the chronic pain from which a large number of seniors suffer is also accentuated by a sedentary lifestyle.
"In light of these problems, the objective of healthcare professionals and osteopaths is therefore to improve the mobility of these people and to work on adapting a gradual resumption of physical activity".
Muscle pain: necessary treatment
"Our regular patients with acute or chronic problems have been waiting for the offices to reopen for several weeks", explains the Grenoble osteopath. "Doctors could also more easily recommend osteopathy to patients suffering from inflammatory pain to avoid the use of anti-inflammatories, for example”. In addition, professionals who have had to deal with an increase in their workload and stress during the period of quarantine, could also encounter problems that can be treated with osteopathy.
However, these same feelings of stress, fear and anxiety, responsible for many osteopathic problems, could also slow down the consultations, however necessary. There is indeed a decrease in medical consultations. " Let patients be reassured that hygiene recommendations will be respected to maximize everyone's health. They can therefore make an appointment in complete safety”.