Straighten up and move

As the world observed World Spine Day on October 16,experts emphasise on the importance of proper investigation and treatment of any back aches

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Published:October 17, 2012 4:00 am

As the world observed World Spine Day on October 16,experts emphasise on the importance of proper investigation and treatment of any back aches

Twenty-nine-year-old Sarika (name changed),an IT engineer had excruciating back and leg pain which made it difficult for her to walk. A variety of non-surgical back pain treatments,including medication,heat and ice therapy and back exercises were attempted to no avail. On careful examination and evaluation,she was diagnosed with a slipped disc at L 4-5 level for which she was given spine pain block treatment,a simple day care procedure. Her pain significantly reduced,she bounced back immediately and started her regular activities.

Sarika is among the 80 per cent of the country’s population who suffer from back and neck pain. On the occasion of World Spine Day on October 16,orthopaedic consultants in the city have urged that ” just a slight” pain in your back could worsen if it is ignored and all it takes is regular exercises and following ergonomics at workplace and home.

‘ Straighten Up!’ is the theme for the World spine day that was created in the year 2000 by the International Bone and Joint Decade (IBJD) to promote better spinal health habits and improve quality of life.

Symptoms can range from muscle pain to severe shooting agonizing pain,restricted range of motion,and an inability to stand up straight. The goal of treatment is to restore proper function and strengthen the back and prevent recurrence of injury. Commonest words used to describe backache are slipped disc,sciatica and spondylosis,says consultant spine surgeon at Sancheti orthopaedic hospital,Dr Shailesh Hadgaonkar.

Wrong postures of working and sitting for very long hours coupled with the trend of fast food habits and nutrition going down in our diets has a negative effect on the spine,points out Dr Kiran Shete,founder of Spinalogy clinic. The clinic in a recent study found out that more than 40% children (Between 7 to 17 years age group) have complained about the neck or back pain during their last one year of school.

Spine and muscles development need exercise – it may be while playing or through a structured exercise program. Lack of exercise leads to weak muscles and bones leading to back pain,said the experts. Acute or short term backache lasts from a few days to a few weeks and is usually the result of injury as fall,trauma to the lower back,slipped disc or exacerbation of spondylosis. Chronic back pain on the other hand,persists for more than three to four months; it may be progressive and the cause can be difficult to identify. Treatment usually includes rest followed by resuming activities. However this depends on the level of disability,Hadgaonkar said. After the reduction in intensity of pain,exercise may be the most effective way for recovery as it will help strengthen back and abdominal muscles,he pointed out.

Dr Amol Rege,consultant spine surgeon at Deenanath Mangeshkar hospital further explained that daily load-bearing activities lead to loss of water content of the discs of the spinal column resulting in its wear and tear. With ageing,the mineral content of the bone decreases and this can lead to osteoporosis and fractures with a bend in the spine. Fortunately,these conditions are preventable with regular exercise,proper posture and a healthy diet. A diet rich in milk,fresh fruits,ragi,dry fruits,eggs and fish help to prevent a crooked spine.

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