Health Impacts of COVID-19 Quarantine

Kaia Health survey reveals more musculoskeletal (MSK) back pain problems along with increased depression and anxiety, as the nation and the world prepare for a return to work.

Changing the virtual care landscape

We’re just beginning to understand the impact of required COVID-19 social distancing, quarantine, and lock-down policies on workers and the overall population. As HR and benefits managers and their employers prepare for various return-to-work scenarios, Kaia Health has announced results of a large, multi-country survey conducted to better understand how quarantine and isolation measures might impact physical and mental well-being.

The survey included both existing Kaia Back Pain app users as well as members of the general public. The results provide a snapshot of the indirect and sometimes hidden ways COVID-19 restrictions have impacted the health of people around the globe. The survey also highlights the impact of back pain on overall health while recognizing an increasing number of health and wellness apps for dealing with the fallout from COVID-19.

Who we asked, what we know

A total of 25,000 people from six countries responded to the survey, which was sent to the Kaia Health app’s newsletter subscribers and augmented through an online survey. The questionnaire asked respondents about how COVID-19 isolation measures affected their mental and physical health, habits, and attitudes.

Our survey revealed a global rise in back pain and an overall decline in health coinciding with stay-at-home orders. For U.S. respondents specifically, the survey reported worsened perceived overall health and reduced access to care. Check out these survey highlights below.

Topline survey results: shedding new light on the impacts of COVID-19 isolation

  • The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic worsened the perceived overall health and access to care of U.S. survey participants.
  • The majority of American chronic-pain patients said their mental well-being was adversely affected.
  • Among remote workers, unhealthy and unergonomic workplace habits were commonplace, translating into worse levels of low back pain.

“The majority of American chronic pain patients participating in the survey indicated their mental well-being was affected through either perceived anxiety or feelings of loneliness,” said digital therapeutic pioneer and Kaia Health Chief Medical Officer Stephan Huber, MD.

“The majority of American chronic pain patients participating in the survey indicated their mental well-being was affected through either perceived anxiety or feelings of loneliness”

Looking at the numbers, our survey found

  • 46% of U.S. respondents said their overall health has declined; this was the highest value indicated among 6 different countries.
  • 27% of U.S. respondents reported that scheduled medical appointments were canceled.
  • 18% said they had problems renewing their prescriptions.
  • More than half of U.S. respondents (51%) had a moderate or higher degree of anxiety, and 54% reported experiencing moderate or higher perceived loneliness.
  • A significant share of respondents—28% in low isolation and 37% in high isolation)—said they spent more time working from the sofa, a highly unergonomic position.
  • 25% of respondents admitted they spent more time working from their beds.

Dr. Huber also noted that among remote workers, unhealthy and unergonomic workplace habits were commonplace, translating into worse levels of low back pain.

“Overall, the experience of low back pain worsened in many respondents since the start of the COVID pandemic, and this was especially relevant in participants with ‘high isolation’ who were mostly confined to their homes,” explained Dr. Huber.

“Overall, the experience of low back pain worsened in many respondents since the start of the COVID pandemic, and this was especially relevant in participants with ‘high isolation’ who were mostly confined to their homes"

MSK digital therapeutics in the spotlight

Acceptance of virtual medicine and digital therapeutics by providers and health plans has accelerated rapidly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Kaia Health survey findings reinforce the powerful role that psychological and social factors play in MSK disorders and back pain. It also highlights the essential role that HR and benefits managers can play in the lives and health of their employees by empowering MSK health through digital therapeutics.

To learn more about how we can help get your employees back to work while making a positive change to their health and happiness, schedule a brief intro call or demo with our team.

Further Reading