Work from home has caused people excess weight gain and back pain. So, let's talk about a solution to avoid pain in your spine (neck or back). Back pain is one of the most common causes of disability among the working population. Slouched sitting, is the predominant cause as it is almost like you are standing in a bent position. The more bending of the spine forward (like rising from bed, slouched sitting and brushing teeth); the more is the intradiscal pressure. Also, these forward bending activities lead to poor posture over time. .The more we bend behind, which we hardly do in our daily activities, the lesser is the pressure in the disc.Everyone knows the term slipped disc, but that's not what happens with everyone who gets back pain. Yes, there is definite excess pressure in the disc which causes back pain but for very few people disc slips out of its place. Sometimes this disc even hits the nerve behind causing pins and needles sensation or numbness in the arms or legs. Back pain is usually the initial stage when only the disc has bulged. Tingling and numbness occur in the next stage wherethe disc bulges or slips to the level that the nerve behind the disc also gets compressed. So, how to avoid this excess pressure or reduce this pressure? The simplest way is to maintain a normal alignment of the spine whether you are sitting or standing.The adult spine is divided into four curves: two posterior curves which help bend backwards and two anterior curves which help in bending forward. The anterior curves are in the neck and the lower back regions. The posterior curves are in the upper and mid-back and buttocks regions. So, when we sit for a long time, after some time we tend to sit in a slouched position which is like bending. Staying in this position for a long time causes excess pressure in the disc and leads to pain. Here are a few ways to fIX this:Good Posture (Ergonomics)Whenever you sit make sure you sit on a hard chair like a plastic or wooden chairwith your hip (buttock) touching the back of a chair. To maintain the low back curve, keep a thin pillow similar to the width of your back. You may also tie a pillow at the level of the low back curve or use a towel roll. Rest your shoulder behind. Also, keep your laptop or computer screen in front of the eyes. Use a laptop stand or a pillow to raise the height accordingly so you neednot bend your neck or look upwards. Follow this for some time, till your posture gets corrected.We often find ourselves stuck in the same place and same posture for long hours due to constant online meetings and work commitments. It is important to take a break after 30 minutes to an hour and change our posture. While working from home or office, keep your files and water bottle away from your table so that you would get up from the chair to drink water or grab a file. In a meeting or call, walk for a while when you are talking. In this way, sitting for long and slouching is prevented.ExerciseForward bending causes excess pressure in discs. To counter-effect this, backward bending is important. Here are a few ways to do backward bending for different parts of the spine:For neck:Sit in front of a mirror and tuck in your chin or make a doublechin without looking up or down. Fixthe gaze into the mirror. Do this 8-10 times, twice a day.For the upper and mid-back: Sit in a chair and keep a football-sized but softball or a pillow folded behind near the upper andmid-back, at the level of Shoulder blades below your neck. Keep your hands behind the head so that both the elbows come together. Now roll your upper and mid-back on the ball or pillow, pressing the ball for feedback to know you are bending behind from mid back not low back. Fix your gaze on the front wall to avoid neck movement. Do this exercise for 10 repetitions 2 sets a day.Lower back: Use a table, kitchen platform or any platform which is at your hip level and stand with your back against the table or platform. Hold the platform with both hands and lean behind from your low back as much as possible. Do this exercise in 10 repetitions of a minimum of 2 sets a day.Do it in the morning after you get up and before sleeping (because the disc is bulged up more that time as it retains water in the night). It would be more beneficial if you would do few more sets in between work as well.Some people also experience knee pain due to prolonged sitting or standing. It's not always the age or degeneration or change in the gap between the joint surfaces that cause knee pain, but many times it is the muscle imbalance and some biomechanical changes that impact the knee. To avoid early wear and tear of the knee joint and subsequent pain from it, a simple exercise can help strengthen the knee muscles. Sit in a high chair so that your feet are not touching the floor. Keep a softball between the knees. Press the ball with both knees and straighten the leg one by one. Hold each leg straight for 5-10 counts. Do 10 repetitions of both legs 2 sets a day.Segmental breathingThe right lung consists of 3 lobes and the left lung has 2 lobes. Segmental breathing focuses on the expansion of each segment (zones) of the lung to enhance lung capacity and oxygen saturation. Usually, cough accumulates in the lower lobes of the lungs due to gravity and the position of the lobes on the side and behind the trunk. Lying on the back reduces lung expansion or air entry in the lower lobes.To increase lung capacity, do simple breathing exercises in 10 repetitions of each 2 sets a day. Sit straight without any back support.For the upper region: Keep both hands on the side of your neck. Take a deep breath through the nose. As your chest expands and your fingers move away from each other, breathe out from the mouth.For the middle lateral region: Keep your hands below the armpits and deep breathe in and out while observing the fingers spread.For the lower posterior region: Keep your hands on the side and back of the trunk (end of the rib cage), thumb behind and fingers in the front. Deep breathe in and out.Do these exercises after due consultation from a physiotherapist. Stop immediately if there is any discomfort or breathlessness and report to your physiotherapist. Monitor your oxygen saturation level regularly. Do these exercises slowly and under the supervision of a physiotherapist or a family member.Ms Ruta Gorhe-Ajnikar is a consultant Physiotherapist and an Aerobics and Pilates Instructor.