Bid Your Back Aches Good Bye With Simple Changes

Several studies tell us that after the common cold, a back ache is the second largest reason for people applying for leave in workplaces the world over

Published: 25th November 2014 06:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th November 2014 06:03 AM   |  A+A-

ALL-IS-WELL.jpgCHENNAI: If you were to go and ask 100 people aged between 30 and 35, if they’d ever experienced a back ache in the recent past, you’d find that 90 of them would say yes. That’s how common a back ache is, especially among Indians. Several studies have also told us that after the common cold, a back ache is the second largest reason for people applying for leave in workplaces the world over. But why are so many people getting a back ache? Today, most professions have people spending a lot of time in sedentary jobs with very little change in posture or activity levels. (This is not limited to the IT profession.) So that has helped us to determine where the trouble usually lies. It often comes down to three major things — posture, activity and exercise. Of all the people who complain of a back problem, we find that for 85 per cent of them, simple changes can work wonders and actually cure them. These changes can be ergonomic (changes in their furniture design) or in the way they stand or sit (in essence, their posturing) and also by getting them to do small exercises that will strengthen their backs. Only the small fraction of people left actually need to have their spine or discs or their bloodwork looked at.  What you must understand is that everybody’s back degenerates. That’s aging and we can’t do anything to stop it. All we can do is to ensure that it happens slower, but with our sedentary lives, we’re actually accelerating it. In all the cases that I have seen over the years, the kind of vertebral degeneration that we used to see in people aged between 40 and 45 is now seen in people as young as 25 to 30 years.  The culprit here isn’t merely the work culture that we see. It is also aided and abetted by the lifestyle choices that people pursue. Being a couch potato, lying in a particular position all day long or even smoking can affect the state of the vertebral discs. How, you may wonder? Discs are avascular structures and they derive nourishment from capillaries — sadly, every cigarette you smoke Is damaging those capillaries, in turn cutting the supply to your own back.

Dr Appaji Krishnan is a Consultant Spine Surgeon at SRM Institutes of Medical Sciences at Vadapalani


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