WFH woes: Experts say mild discomfort such as recurrent back pains should not be neglected

Monday, May 31, 2021

HI-Eisai Pharmaceutical Inc., a research-oriented pharmaceutical company committed to improving the health of all individuals, organized a free-for-all webinar last May 22 titled “Pabalik-balik na Sakit ng Likod at Kalamnan? Huwag Balewalain, Pag-usapan Natin!” wherein medical experts tackled the bits and pieces of acute and chronic pain concerns to increase awareness on the matter, especially under a pandemic lockdown.

Hosted by veteran television host and celebrity mom Suzi Entrata-Abrera, HI-Eisai gathered expert physicians from different fields who shared their professional advice. 

Due to the pandemic lockdown, there is a decrease in mobility in the workforce in the Philippines as most companies shifted to working remotely for more than a year now. Aside from the struggle of finding the balance between work-life boundaries as we take our jobs at home, more people tend to experience muscle pain more usual than ever. 

A decreased movement and an increased sitting time are common instances in a remote working setup. In line with this, HI-Eisai aims to provide guidance for all in accordance to their mission as a pharmaceutical company. Terms and explanations are also discussed in layman’s terms for better understanding of the topic.

To open the discussion, Dr. Godfrey Robeniol, a neurologist tackled the different kinds of muscle pain commonly experienced; muscle pain (muscle ache), muscle spasm (involuntary and excessive contraction of muscle), and muscle cramps (a kind of spasm that is more painful but doesn’t usually last longer than 15 minutes). 

These acute concerns may grow to a kind of chronic pain when not immediately acted upon or addressed by professionals. Seeking the doctor’s advice through teleconsultation when experiencing acute pain is strongly advised especially when it’s already been three to five days after self-medicating and there is no improvement,” the neurologist said. 

Meanwhile, Dr. Romil Martinez, a rehabilitation medicine specialist, discussed the back pain red flags that indicate immediate attention as it may get worse when neglected. 

The red flags are; (1) history of trauma, (2) urinary retention or loss of bowel control, (3) fever, night sweats, severe fatigue or unintended weight loss, (4) back pain lasting more than three months. 

Weighing in the conversation is Dr. Marcelino Cadag, an orthopedic surgeon, who explained that most concerns can be diagnosed by physical examination to provide immediate action to the complaint. 

These muscle strains could root from activities like lifting too much weight, developing arthritis, and even slipped discs. The number one cause of lower back pain is muscle strain from sitting too long. We suggest that for every hour of sitting, stand up every five to 10 minutes,” Dr. Cadag said. 

After consultation, when pain relievers and a change in habit didn’t work out to ease or improve the pain, Dr. Martinez suggested undergoing a physical therapy session. “We advise doing home exercises in the morning and before sleeping. It is good to undergo yoga or pilates, and acupunctures,” he said. “It’s definitely going to be a change in lifestyle.” 

Dr. Martinez also explained how taking supplements are helpful especially when aging. 

But when pain could no longer be cured through medication and therapy, surgery is the last option. Any kind of pain, however, is relatively easier to treat when still not severe. 

Moreover, taking a balanced diet and being mindful of weight is also one way to prevent back and muscle pain concerns. This can be done through making exercise a habit and practicing good posture especially when sitting in work. 

The 6 stretches for back pain relief: (1) Back Flexion Stretch, (2) Towel Hamstring stretch, (3) Piriformis muscle stretch, (4) Lateral Flexion Stretch, (5) Chair Hamstring Stretch, and (6) Kneeling Lunge Stretch

The 5 exercises for lower back pain: (1) Plank, (2) Back Arch, (3) Swimming, (4) Bird Dog, (5) Table and Child’s Poses

Having discussed several treatments and pieces of advice to improve the physical health due to lockdown restrictions, the webinar helped reiterate the importance of relaxing  the mind and trying to have less stress and worry over the situation. 

Hence, with less mobility and more sitting time brought by the work from home setup, it sheds light on the importance of maintaining self-discipline while working remotely. A balanced diet, maintaining proper posture, and stretching out every 5 to 10 minutes can be of big help to prevent multiple types of body pain. 

HI-Eisai, with its mission and vision to provide help for all, encourages immediate medical attention from experts to prevent worsening of various health concerns. When self-medicating, just three to five days of observation is enough –if no improvement is noticed, it is necessary to consult a physician. 

May it be as simple as back pain, or other kinds of muscle pain, it is very important to seek medical help especially when experiencing any of the red flags stated above to avoid possible worsening of the condition.

For more information, the full webinar can be accessed through this link:


You Might Also Like