Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
It seems like COVID-19 is here to stay for at least the foreseeable future because of viruses’ ability to morph into different variants. We saw the Delta wave and we’re slogging through Omicron, and it seems likely that there will be more variants before we ever fully put COVID-19 in the rearview mirror. With that in mind, it’s certainly possible that we as a society will be shifting back and forth to some common practices that we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, like the closing of gyms, working from home and longer waits to be seen by a physician.
All of those above factors can have negative consequences for your spine and your whole body health, which is why it’s so important to make sure you’re keeping your spine in mind as we work to endure new COVID variants. Below, we share some tips for protecting your spine if new COVID variants again start to present some obstacles to your back health.
Preventing Back Pain Caused By COVID Shutdowns
Everyone’s work and social lives will be affected differently by COVID and the changes it causes, so some of these recommendations may not fit your specific situation. That said, odds are your life is affected in some ways that these tips could prove beneficial if your normal lifestyle is being upended by COVID.
- Find Ways To Stay Active – One of the best things you can do for your spine and your body is to find ways to stay active. This is easier said than done, especially if your gym is closed or you’re now working remotely from a home office. Do what you can to develop a new daily routine that helps keep you active, because your spine needs to be challenged and your body needs to burn calories. Do an exercise routine from your living room or basement, or bundle up and go for a walk before or after work. The pandemic may limit your in-person contact, but it shouldn’t keep you on the couch in your house. Find ways to move and stay active.
- Mind Your Diet – It’s easy to put on weight during the pandemic for a myriad of reasons. Some people turn to food for comfort in times of stress, and the pandemic has been quite stressful for many. Others find it easier to snack or reach for unhealthy options if they are home for longer stretches or walking by the refrigerator or pantry more frequently. Gaining weight only puts added pressure on your spine as it works to handle this excess stress. Conversely, losing even a few pounds can take a lot of pressure off your spine, so keep your spine in mind when you’re grocery shopping and meal planning in the near future.
- Mental And Physical Health – Stress can actually take a physical toll on your body, so there’s a real chance that your lower back or neck pain is caused in part or worsened because of stress. Work to find new ways to destress from life’s challenges. Again, this is easier said than done, but it’s imperative that you don’t ignore your mental health as we navigate this pandemic. Stay connected with loved ones even if it’s only via a phone call or Zoom, and don’t be afraid to step away from social media if it seems to be adding to your daily stress. Challenge your brain and take care of your mental health throughout the pandemic.
- Hydrate – Finally, make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day. You may not be sweating as much or working up a thirst as quickly because you’re not moving as much during the pandemic, but your spine and your body rely on water to keep systems moving fluidly. When you’re dehydrated, muscles are at a higher risk of cramping or straining, and blood can’t circulate throughout your body as easily. Always keep a water bottle nearby, and make sure water is your primary drink of choice instead of coffee, soda or alcoholic beverages.
And lastly, if you’re dealing with spinal discomfort or you’re struggling with any physical or mental issues throughout this pandemic, be sure to reach out to your primary care physician or a spine specialist like Dr. Sinicropi. We want to help you get the care you need to get back to full health. For more information or for help with your back pai issue, give Dr. Sinicropi a call at (651) 430-3800.