HYDERABAD: Intense back pains and spine problems have become all too common in the past year. Lockdown, it turns out, has been bad for our backs. Sedentary lifestyles, long work from home (WFH) hours, poor sitting posture, bad sleep cycles have all worsened this since the Covid-19 pandemic.
The pain is no longer easily manageable as the ‘aah se aha tak’ tagline of a popular pain relief balm would lead us to believe, as back pain is fast emerging as a lifestyle disorder in people of all age groups. A survey by the Great Indian Sleep Scorecard (GISS) 2021, has found that 40 per cent Hyderabadis suffer from back problems. “Sleeping on a poor quality mattress could likely be one of the key reasons,” commented Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, co-founder and Director, Wakefit.co.
“Back pain may affect different parts of the spine and may be accompanied by a combination of symptoms, including stiffness, muscle fatigue, and even dizziness,” says Dr Srividya Nandakumar, senior naturopath, Jindal Naturecure Institute.
He adds, “Back pain could be a serious problem as it restricts mobility for many.” Spine and back pain problems have increased Dr Kiran Kumar highlights that the percentage of subjects who reported thorax and lower body pain significantly increased since the lockdown last year. “The incidence of neck pain is clearly higher in women, whereas low back pain is fairly high in men,” adds he. Dr Kiran Kumar Lingutla, consultant spine surgeon, Yashoda Hospitals, Somajiguda shares some reasons:
- WFH and being restricted indoors
- Increased number of hours spent sitting, improper posture, lack of adequate exercise
- Stress of the pandemic
- The onset of LBP (low back pain) is often associated with the adoption of poor posture at work; heavy lifting; performing repetitive movements; trunk flexion, rotation, and hyperextension; pushing, pulling and carrying heavy weights in an abnormal posture can also trigger low back pain.
Tips for a strong back
- Regular back exercises and stretches
- At least 150 minutes of exercise a week
- Avoid sitting for long periods
- Take care when lifting
- Check posture when sitting, using computers or tablets and watching television
- Ensure the mattress on your bed supports you properly
- Lose weight
Posture tips for laptop users
- Use a separate keyboard and mouse so the laptop can be put on a stand and the screen opened at eye level
- Use your laptop on a stable base where there is support for your arms, and not on your lap
- Take regular breaks. If you’re moving, there’s a lot less stress on your muscles and joints
- Sit properly with lower back support, and ensure other desk equipment is within reach
- Dr Jagan Mohan Reddy, sr consultant orthopaedic surgeon, SLG Hospitals
Common complaints during the lockdown
- Muscle spasms and tightness in the low back, pelvis, and hips
- Low back pain
- Sciatica to the thighs and lower legs
- Neck and upper back Pain
- Myalgia or muscle pain
- Joint pain
- Dr Kiran Kumar Lingutla
Acupuncture for back pain
Acupuncture is the traditional Chinese healing where thin needles are placed in specific points of the body. Most of these points are commonly referred to as pain points. According to this medicine system, our body has more than 2,000 pressure points that are connected through pathways. “Stimulation of these points, by piercing with needles, balances the flow of energy, thus addressing health disorders from their root,” says Dr Srividya Nandakumar.
Back and neck pain are no longer as easily manageable as the ‘aah se aha tak’ tagline of a popular pain relief balm would lead us to believe, as back pain is fast emerging as a lifestyle disorder in people of all age groups
— Tamanna S Mehdi tamanna @newindianexpress.com @tamannamehdi