15 October 2020
Spine-related problems have become very common among adults because of faulty lifestyle. In fact, back and neck pain are so common that we often tend to ignore them, thinking these will go away with time. But lack of treatment or delay in getting help can prove dangerous, said Spine Specialist and Surgeon from Fortis Hospital Mohali Dr Deepak Joshi, in an advisory here to commemorate the World Spine Day on October 16.
Inactive lifestyle, unhealthy food, sitting or standing in one position for a long time, bad posture or repeated trauma during manual work are common causes of spine ailments, he said, adding, “Most of the time, pain in back and neck have no specific cause. It is thought in some cases that the cause may be a sprain or over-stretch of a ligament or muscle.”
Like many medical conditions, prevention is better than cure for most spine ailments. “Preventive steps involve reducing weight, cessation of smoking, improving overall fitness, and practicing good posture,” Dr Joshi said. If the posture is not proper, it can lead to ailments of the spine,” he said. Recommending yoga for long-term prevention of back ailments, the doctor said it improves both endurance and flexibility which are important to reduce back & neck pain.
Warning that not all spine ailments warrant simple solutions, Dr Joshi said, “Conditions like cervical/lumbar radiculopathy, lumbar canal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, fractures of spine, cervical myelopathy, osteoporosis of spine, infections of spine (like TB), cancers of spine, deformation of spine like scoliosis and kyphosis need treatment by spine specialists.”
Common symptoms for which consult must be taken from a spine specialist are pain that wakes a person up from sleep, bowel or bladder dysfunction (like unable to pass urine, dribbling of urine or loss of control over passing urine or defecation), unexplained weight loss with back pain, recent episodes of fever related to low back pain, history of trauma, continuous pain more than 6 weeks, pain radiating to arms and legs & weakness in arms and legs.
Allaying misconceptions related to spine surgeries, Dr Joshi said, “Though not all spine problems need surgery, even if there is a requirement, modern spine surgery is very safe and predictable if done in well trained and experienced hands. Disability after spine surgery is a thing of the past and with modern techniques spine surgery including fixations and fusions can be done with precision through small cuts allowing early mobility and function after surgery.”
Back pain is now common in school going children. Poor posture, long sitting hours, lack of exercises and heavy school bags are common causes. Dr. Deepak Joshi recommends that the ideal school bag weight should be 10% of body weight, it should be hung on both shoulders and be close to the body to avoid school bag related back problems.
Scoliosis and kyphosis are not uncommon back problems in children. These problems can present as grotesque or very ugly-looking deformities but they are often missed in early stages due to lack of knowledge & screening.
These deformities of spine due to scoliosis and kyphosis can lead to disfigurement, lack of self-esteem, late neurological deficit and poor lung development. These problems in children are preventable with simple braces if detected early before the full growth of the child. If they are detected late, modern advances in surgery allow the specialist to correct the deformity with perfection without any disfigurement and disability. With such surgeries the child can gain height and regain confidence and self-esteem.