Kiran*, a software programmer, was diagnosed with Knee OA, brought on by long hours glued to the laptop screen at his desk. This is his story of how he fought back, and regained control of his life.
As a software programmer, Kiran* would spend approximately 10-12 hours a day at his desk, hunched over his laptop, busy coding software. On most days, he would wait till 9-10 pm for his counterparts in the U.S. to come into their office, so that he could talk to them and iron out everyday issues in the projects.
“Initially, this lifestyle had me excited. At 25, I had landed a campus placement with an MNC and my work life was interesting. Like many young working professionals around me, I was ready to give myself up to the job and to my employer, skipping regular meals in favor of burgers and pizzas. For hours and hours, I would stay rivetted to the screen, often in the same sitting posture and excitedly perched at the very edge of my chair”, says Kiran.
Kiran knew he was gaining weight. But he was very addicted to his job; and joining a gym was out of the question. Over a decade later, this lifestyle and work pattern began to take a toll on his health, while in his late-thirties.
“The first sign was when I started feeling overwhelmed at work. My knee joints would feel very stiff, especially towards the end of a long day. I went through the same feeling while getting up in the morning. When this showed no signs of going away, I met an orthopedic physician”, says Kiran.
Kiran was diagnosed with OA of the knee, which means that he had slight cartilage erosion, stiffness and slight discomfort in his knee joints. However, his joints still had sufficient doses of synovial fluid to lubricate them. The articular cartilage lining the ends of bones in his knee joint hadn’t yet begun to degenerate.
“X-rays did reveal some bony bumps (osteophytes) around the joints, and that was about it. I had reached out for medical help at the right time, I suppose,” said Kiran, with a sigh of relief.
Based on his physical state and his doctor advised, Kiran was advised suitable physical activity paired with a healthy diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin-D (fatty fish, walnut), high-quercetin (onion), and EGCG (green tea*).
“With help from my seniors, I have been able to rejig my work schedule over the past few years. Now I start work at around 9am, and leave exactly by 5 in the evening, so that I’m home by 6 pm. I then grab a light snack, and head to the gym within my apartment complex. I divide 45 minutes of my gym time between body stretches, stationary bicycling, and exercises using light hand-held weights”, says Kiran.
The physician put Kiran on medication and also advised him to improve the ergonomics of his workstation, so that he could sit with both feet flat on the floor, knees slightly apart, and the laptop screen below eye level. His chair was fitted with a sturdy backrest and he sat with his back pressed firmly against the chair. No matter his workload, Kiran now makes it a point to get up from his seat and stretch, every 45 minutes or so.
“I feel good overall and get a sense of satisfaction with myself, and how I have changed of life over the past 9 years after finding out about my knee condition. Now in hindsight, I feel like I have been missing this comfort for many years together, without quite realizing it,” quips Kiran about his changed lifestyle.
With proper timely medication and prudent lifestyle changes, he has been able to lose the excess weight, reduce the load on his knees, and is fighting back the symptoms of Osteoarthritis.
Now in his late 40’s, Kiran has got a brand new start and is living a much better, healthier life!
-This article is only for general awareness. Patients are advised not to self-diagnose or start any medication, diet and exercise or other lifestyle changes without consulting your doctor.
-Any names used herein represent fictional characters and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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