Treatment Options and Preventing Neck and Back Injuries During the Coronavirus

Travel restrictions and social distancing implemented due to the Coronavirus have created a new environment. Working from home and being restricted to home has become routine for many, which has created a new set of challenges for those with chronic neck and back issues. For those working from home, it is likely that you are spending more time sitting in front of the computer, or on conference calls.  

Gyms and other recreational activities have been temporarily banned which may lead to inactivity, weight gain, and exacerbation of chronic conditions that were previously well managed. There is also a mental component to being restricted to home, as well as the added stress of uncertainty from the virus, concern for friends/family, and financial constraints; all of which can cause stress and worsen pain from neck or back conditions. 

During this unprecedented time, it is important to take time for your physical and mental health.  Here are some tips for preventing injury, as wells options for treatment should you have an injury, or worsening pain from an existing condition: 

  1. Avoid injury. Many people are taking advantage of the added time at home to start projects at home such as cleaning, landscaping, and others that require heavy lifting/bending/twisting.  If you plan on taking on a new project, it is important to start slowly, and gradually increase your activity on a daily basis. If you experience pain, take a break until it resolves.  
  2. Get moving. If you’re working from home, stand up and stretch at least every hour. If possible, going for a daily walk (while maintaining social distancing) can help prevent and resolve back pain. 
  3. Exercise. Develop a home workout program. Even without gym equipment, a home exercise program can help improve flexibility, prevent stiffness, and reduce pain.  
  4. Virtual Visits. If you develop pain, we are now able to thoroughly evaluate you through a Virtual Visit by video. There is no reason to delay treatment, especially with the uncertainty of how long travel restrictions will continue. If necessary, imaging studies can be ordered, medication prescribed, and physical therapy ordered, just like an in-person visit.  Many physical therapy offices are also performing telemedicine which can be very effective.  Surgery can also be scheduled for certain urgent conditions.  

Dr. John Koerner is an orthopaedic spine surgeon at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute and currently sees patients via Virtual Visits and in-person in Bergen County. For more information or to make an appointment please visit or call 888-636-7840. 

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