Working in the home office system is associated with many dangers – including health hazards. So how should we take care of ourselves to avoid diseases, both physical and mental? Both areas are connected to each other because, for example, a diseased spine can contribute to depression. Surprising? Yes, but true.
Not all are equally good at remote or hybrid workflow. In most studies devoted to this issue, there is a common problem with maintaining balance and the lack of a clear boundary between the private and professional areas of life. Working remotely has also resulted in a two or threefold increase in the amount of time spent in front of computer and telephone screens, while limiting traffic, even related to commuting to the office.
Work time, rest time
Therefore, we should start taking care of our own health, both mental and physical, by deliberately establishing the boundaries between private and professional life. Systematic disconnection from the professional turn and device digital detox will allow us to stop and focus on what we are going through. It will be an opportunity not only to take a walk in the forest, but also to notice the natural circumstances we are in and to take our mind off the report that should be prepared for Monday. Thanks to this, we will not only rest physically and mentally, but also provide ourselves a dose of healthy sleep, thanks to which we will regenerate our strength for further activities.
There is a high probability that all these activities will lead us to the most important – listening to the needs of our own body. Which will significantly help us protect ourselves against many diseases, including nomophobia (fear of lack of access to a telephone) or phonoholism (addiction to the telephone). Medicine takes both addictions as seriously as, for example, alcoholism.
The body sends signals
If we do not take care of our health early, the body will start to experience physical symptoms that indicate disorders characteristic of excessive remote work – thumb pain, tingling in the hands, wrist stiffness, swelling, and pain in the spine in its various parts. These are obvious messages sent by the body, indicating the need to take a break of at least ten minutes from using the phone or laptop.
Because our body acts as a system of connected vessels – what manifests itself in the psyche also affects the physical area – and vice versa. That is why back pain means not only problems with moving and keeping the body in the right position. They are also psychological threats. Physiotherapists and psychotherapists emphasize that emotional problems and chronic stress can cause back pain. Therefore, with back pain, you can not only go to rehabilitation, but also … psychotherapy. People with chronic back pain are three times more likely to develop depression.
A healthy spine is a healthy psyche
More than half a billion people feel unwell due to back pain, which reduces their quality of life. They also experience excessive anxiety and show signs of depression. And with this issue we are faced with a dilemma – what came first, back pain or depression or anxiety? There is also a danger of falling into a vicious circle where the symptoms reinforce each other.
How to overcome pain and its causes ”points out that suppressing feelings or desires causes asymmetrical muscle tension in the body. Unfortunately, this problem mainly affects the muscles that maintain the correct body posture, thus increasing the risk of damage to the locomotor organs or deformation of the body itself.
Back pain and changes in the brain
However, while it is still logical to assume that emotional problems affect muscle condition and thus posture, how do you explain the reverse mechanism by which back pain can cause brain changes? Chinese researchers found that the occurrence of chronic pain is associated with a reduction in the volume of the so-called gray matter. This zone is responsible, among other things, for processing pain, which in turn has a direct impact on the process of pain sensation.
Pain in different parts of the spine is accompanied by different changes in the brain. The greatest modifications of the gray matter accompany ailments in the lower back.
The role of genes
Scientists from the University of Sydney, on the other hand, explain the connection of back pain with the occurrence of mental problems by referring to our genes. According to them, the same gene units are responsible for both things, which was confirmed by analyzes carried out on over two thousand twins.
However, no matter what causes potential problems with the spine and the state of our emotions, a person in most cases has an influence on it. So let’s take care of yourself and your condition. Especially in the era of remote work, which may aggravate unfavorable mental and physical states. Therefore, the following are of particular importance: relaxation, effective management of own emotions, as well as good, even virtual relationships with others. And above all, movement. It is also worth taking care of your workplace at home and investing in an ergonomic chair and a well-lit workplace.