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Times of India
07 February 2011
By Radha Sharma
Ahmedabad, India

‘Half of all Techies Suffer from Neck or back Pain’
A survey of 1,000–odd employees working in the IT sector carried out locally has thrown up alarming results — nearly half suffer from neck and back pain. What’s more, over 20% complained of stress and headaches.

Director of Mission Health Dr Alaap Shah said that 970 employees of IT companies in the age–group of 23 to 36 years were studied. "We were surprised to find that of the IT executives, 46.15% suffered from neck pain and 58.97% complained of back pain. Also, 21% suffered from stress, while 23% complained of regular headaches," said Dr Shah.

Dr Shah said that neck and back pain have almost become an occupational hazard of sorts for corporate employees, especially those working in the IT sector, who spend most of the day at a desk, working on a computer. "What is alarming is that some professionals exhibited severe spine problems at a young age when their problem becomes so severe that it affects their quality of life," said Dr Shah.

Rahul Sharma, a software engineer, is a glaring instance. Sharma said that within two years of beginning his career in the IT sector, he suffered from severe back pain. "I underwent spine surgery at the age of 26," says Sharma. Sarthak Mehta, 28, an IT professional, underwent spine surgery six months ago. "I had no idea how the constant sitting was ruining my spine. Even after undergoing surgery, I still have pain," said Mehta.

‘Half of all Techies Suffer from Neck or back Pain’
Mitali Shah, a 27–year old professional working in a pharmacy laboratory, is battling severe neck pain because of long hours of research at a microscope which requires her to keep her neck bent at a certain angle. "Despite my complaints, the HR department did not look into the ergonomics and even refused to grant me leave," complains Mitali.

Maintain Correct Posture
Change posture every 20 minutes: If you are standing, sit and if you are seated, stand up. It would unload the disc or facet joints and provide nutrition to the affected parts of the body.

Back rest: Should try to sit as ideal as possible so that all four curves are maintained and supported while sitting. One should use a chair with a back rest. The ideal sitting posture is one which minimizes the stress on the spine.

Equal weight on both legs: While standing, put equal weight on both legs. When standing for a long time, put one leg on a step higher for some time and alternate with the other.

Lift objects carefully: Be very careful when lifting. Always bend from hip and knees while lifting the object.
Use firm pillows: While sleeping straight use a single firm pillow and while sleeping on side use two pillows, the height of which should equal the width of one’s neck–line.

Modify workstation: Use a chair with a back rest and adjustable height and arm rests. Your screen and keyboard should be directly in front of you. The top of the screen should be at eye level so that your neck is maintained in a neutral posture.

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