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Shailesh Hadgaonkar talks about the rise in neck and back problems among students.

Written by Express News Service | Published: October 16, 2013 3:33:53 am

Back and neck pains have increasingly become common complaints across various age-groups. As World Spine Day is observed today,Shailesh Hadgaonkar,Consultant Orthopaedic & Spine Surgeon at Sancheti Hospital,said it is important to raise awareness about neck and back problems and to take a collaborative approach to spinal disorders so that these can be alleviated. Hadgaonkar said the focus for this year’s World Spine Day is on preventative strategy. Stress is also being laid on the importance of positive posture and movement at home and work. “We need the help of NGOs,government and all citizens for reducing the global burden of spine problems,” he said.

Talking about the sedentary lives of most students and professionals,Hadgaonkar said lifestyle changes are causing more stress on the neck and back at a very early age. “Poor posture is particularly impacting people. The strength,durability and flexibility of the spine is often ignored till a patient develops back pain or neck pain,” he added.

Having spoken about the gravity of the situation,Hadgaonkar said the most important aspect in preventing back and neck problems is exercising regularly. “It is imperative that people of all age-groups religiously go for walks or swim or take to some other form of exercising. Walking is one of the best exercises for the spine as it helps in strengthening muscles’ nutrients,improving flexibility,endurance and strength.

Exercising 360 degree for back and abdominal area is necessary but should be learnt from experts,” he said,adding that exercises that focus on stretching and strengthening the spine,abdominal area,quadriceps and hamstrings can help in distributing nutrients into the spinal discs and soft tissues.

Acknowledging that most professionals and students have to sit for long hours at work or while studying,Hadgaonkar said maintaining good posture will help in the long term. “As the discs in the lumbar spine (lower back) are already loaded three times more while sitting than when one is standing,bad posture only makes things worse. Be sure to have an ergonomically-friendly office chair set-up and to get up and stretch every 30 minutes or so.

Bone of Contention

October 12 is observed as World Arthritis Day. Doctors also expressed concern over the rise in number of women being affected by rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Arvind Chopra,Director of Centre for Rheumatic Diseases (CRD),said the WHO COPCORD (community oriented programme for control of rheumatic diseases) survey studies from the Pune region indicate that almost 0.5 per cent community may be suffering from RA. Besides arthritis,RA also causes general constitutional symptoms of fever,loss of body weight and fatigue. Uncommonly,RA can affect other body systems such as eyes,lungs,skin,nerves,says Chopra. RA is characterised by pain,swelling,loss of function,deformities and poor

general health and is often complicated by anemia and osteoporosis (thinning of bones).

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