Ways to deal with a sedentary lifestyle

Rohit Taru, a 25-year-old IT professional, received an unexpected revelation during a visit to his doctor: his Vitamin D levels were so low that they couldn’t even be detected. This news came as a shock to Taru, who had never considered that his persistent backache could be attributed to a deficiency in the “sunshine vitamin.”

“I had never imagined that the pain I was experiencing could be linked to a lack of Vitamin D,” remarked Taru upon learning of his condition.

It’s better to be safe than sorry

  • Excessive computer usage can lead to various health issues, including carpal tunnel syndrome and postural pain syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome, characterized by numbness or tingling sensations in the arm, can extend to the wrist or shoulder area due to prolonged mouse use. Similarly, spending long hours in front of a computer can cause arm pain, numbness, and postural pain syndrome.
  • Moreover, vitamin D deficiency and incorrect posture are common culprits behind backache problems. Professionals and commuters in bustling cities often face lifestyle-related health issues, as seen in the case of Rohit Taru. Spending 10 to 12 hours a day, and sometimes up to 14 hours, working on the computer led to Taru’s vitamin deficiency and worsening backache over the years.
  • “I’ve been experiencing back pain for a while now, and it was getting worse by the day,” Taru shared. Seeking relief, he consulted a doctor who attributed his vitamin deficiency to his sedentary lifestyle and prolonged indoor work hours.


With the rise in computer usage and social networking activities, residents of Mumbai are increasingly susceptible to Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI) or Computer Related Injuries (CRI). Dr. Hemant Bhandari, a consultant orthopedic surgeon at Bombay Hospital, expresses concern over the growing prevalence of these issues: “We are witnessing these problems on a daily basis now. Professionals from various sectors, including banks, IT offices, and even young children, are seeking treatment for backaches, neck pain, bone pain, and Vitamin D deficiency.”

For those reading this article online, it’s crucial to consider their body posture. According to doctors, the misuse of our bodies is resulting in adverse effects on our physical health. To mitigate these issues, doctors recommend regular exercise, outdoor activities, and taking breaks every 2-3 hours while working on a computer.

Dr. Shreyas M Katharani, a physiotherapist with a clinic in Bandra, emphasizes the importance of maintaining correct posture and taking regular breaks: “Sitting in the correct posture and taking breaks every two hours can help prevent such issues.” Dr. Anjana Laungani, a consultant physiotherapist and rehab specialist with a clinic in Bandra, highlights common problems she encounters, including cervical or neck slip disc with arm pain and numbness, postural pain syndrome, trigger finger, and shoulder rotator cuff problems.

Commuting woes

The root of these problems isn’t solely confined to the nature of one’s work. Lengthy commutes spent packed into local trains, buses, or cabs can also contribute to severe back issues. Dr. Katharani notes, “Standing for prolonged periods leads to muscle fatigue. Gripping onto handles in crowded trains or hanging out of doors can even result in shoulder dislocations.” He recalls an incident where a patient nearly faced a fatal accident after falling from a train due to a dislocated shoulder.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jawahar S. Punjwani echoes this sentiment, highlighting the physical toll of crowded train rides: “Constant jostling in crowded trains can lead to a frozen shoulder. Sudden pushes can cause muscle injuries, while standing for extended periods can result in knee, neck, and lower back pain.” He further explains, “In buses or cabs, the abrupt application of brakes exerts pressure on the upper body, exacerbating these issues.”

Heavy objects

Punjwani observes a notable increase in patients presenting with these specific pains. Like many Mumbaikars, Kalman Karmarkar (36) spends two hours commuting between office and home daily. After years of this routine, he began experiencing backaches approximately three years ago, but he initially disregarded the issue until it became severe.

Turning to painkillers and even attempting homeopathy proved ineffective for Karmarkar. “I eventually sought medical advice, and was advised to maintain proper posture while working,” he explains. Due to his weakened back, he was advised against lifting heavy objects.

In addition to his commuting, Karmarkar’s prolonged periods in front of a computer exacerbated his back stiffness. He notes that many of his colleagues also suffer from back problems due to sedentary lifestyles and desk jobs that limit outdoor activity.

Karmarkar and Taru’s experiences with backaches have prompted changes in their habits. Taru has revamped his seating arrangements at the office, incorporating a lumbar support system to promote proper posture. He also commits to daily morning walks and regular exercise to maintain fitness.


If backaches weren’t enough, now even non-tennis players like Chandni Raheja (24) can develop ‘tennis elbow’ without ever picking up a racket. Like many of us, Raheja frequently typed messages, replied to bulk emails, and used her Blackberry without considering the strain on her elbow. However, just two weeks ago, she found herself unable to use the keyboard for more than ten minutes without experiencing pain in her right elbow.

Raheja sought help from Dr. Anisha Mandhyan, a physiotherapist, who diagnosed her with tennis elbow. This condition, typically associated with tennis players, manifests as soreness in the outer part of the elbow and damage to the tendons.

Concerned about her condition, Raheja has made changes to her habits. “I’ve reduced my use of the computer mouse and cut back on messaging frequency. Additionally, I’m using an elbow band and applying gel,” she explains.

The excessive use of a mouse can lead to wrist pain and even severe discomfort in the arm region. Dr. Punjwani explains, “Excessive mouse usage can result in carpal tunnel syndrome, causing numbness or tingling sensations in the arm, which may extend to the nerve or shoulder area.”

Changing lifestyle with an increased use of modern gadgets and gizmos is catching up with children too. They can be prized possessions for youngsters but they are causing injuries to them as well. This trend has alarmed doctors. “We have had cases where children as young as eight have come with lifestyle-related problems,” says Punjwani.

Kids sit for hours playing games on play stations, which result in backaches and other bodily dysfunction.  Says Dr Laungani, “Kids and teenagers mainly have neck, mid-back pain with stiffness and postural alignment problems. Their spine alignment is abnormal like scoliosis, kyphosis, protruding neck and slouch back.

Their numbers are increasing in the last few years.”  She adds, “Schoolchildren are definitely subjected to heavy loads on their young backs. As this is the age to develop their spine the undue stress leads to abnormal changes which affect them now as well as later in life.”

Alarming trend

The changing lifestyle driven by increased use of modern gadgets and gizmos is impacting children as well. While these devices may be prized possessions for youngsters, they are also causing injuries, a trend that has doctors concerned. “We’ve seen cases where children as young as eight have presented with lifestyle-related problems,” notes Punjwani.

Kids spend hours sitting and playing games on devices like play stations, resulting in backaches and other bodily dysfunctions. Dr. Laungani elaborates, “Kids and teenagers often experience neck and mid-back pain, stiffness, and postural alignment issues. Their spine alignment may be abnormal, leading to conditions like scoliosis, kyphosis, protruding neck, and slouch back.”

These numbers have been on the rise in recent years. Dr. Laungani emphasizes, “Schoolchildren are subjected to heavy loads on their young backs during a critical phase of spine development. This undue stress can cause abnormal changes that affect them both now and later in life.”


  • ercises to relax your muscles.
  • Go out for a walk in the morning or engage in some outdoor activity. A little bit of exposure to sunlight can reduce the risk of Vitamin D deficiency.
  • Try and keep your posture erect while working or travelling. Incorrect posture is a major cause for most of the lifestyle related problems.
  • Go to a doctor when you have the slightest pain. Do not wait for the pain to aggravate.
  • Woman should avoid wearing high heels everyday. No doubt they make you look gorgeous but they can also cause severe backache.
  • Many people are now buying ergonomic furniture and accessories to reduce stress injuries. Some keyboards in the market are split into separate pieces to make it more user friendly.


Bernardino Ramazzini, a 17th-century physician, was a pioneer in documenting Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). In his book “De Morbis Artificum,” published in 1793, he noted that certain types of work could cause physical injuries that alter the body’s natural structure to the point where “serious diseases gradually develop therefrom.” Ramazzini’s observations laid the foundation for understanding the occupational hazards associated with repetitive tasks and paved the way for modern research into RSI.