J Korean Phys Ther.  2021 Apr;33(2):84-90. 10.18857/jkpt.2021.33.2.84.

Social Distancing in COVID-19: What Are the Implications for Musculoskeletal Problems and the Quality of Life?

  • 1Department of Physical Therapy, Ansan University, Ansan, Republic of Korea


This study examined the effects of social distancing in COVID-19 on musculoskeletal problems and the quality of life.
One hundred and thirty-five subjects participated in this study and responded to an online survey on stress from the social distancing in COVID-19, computer and smartphone usages, musculoskeletal pain, and quality of life. The stress from social distancing was assessed by a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). The Neck Disability Index (NDI), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and Boston Carpal Tunnel Questionnaire (BCTQ) were provided to assess the musculoskeletal pain, and Short Form-36 (SF-36) was provided to assess the quality of life. Frequency analysis, descriptive statistics, Pearson’s correlation coefficient, and independent t-test were used for data analysis.
Statistically significant, but low positive correlation stress from the social distancing (VAS) and NDI (r=0.19, p<0.05) and ODI (r=0.18, p<0.05), and negative correlation between stress from the social distancing (VAS) and SF-36 (r=-0.17, p<0.05). The NDI score was significantly greater in the group with high stress than in the group with low stress from social distancing (p<0.05).
This study is meaningful in that it evaluated, through the physical therapy approaches, the potential side-effects on physical and mental health in various social changes caused by COVID-19. The results of this study may be used as basic data in future studies related to COVID-19.


COVID-19; Digital device; Musculoskeletal disorders; Quality of life; Social Distancing
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