Bad back: Common spine issues that can affect anyone and how to prevent them
Back problems? You are not alone. Each one of us may have suffered from back pain or related issues at least once in our modern lives. These issues are especially common in young working-class adults as well as older adults. According to the QI Spine Clinic 2017 Insights Report, people between the age group of 16-34 years make up for 20% of back and spine patients.
Back pain is amongst the top indicators for spine issues. It is important to know the cause of your troubling symptoms so you can take timely preventive action and medical treatment.
In this article, with insights from our leading orthopaedic experts, we will be discussing some common spine issues experienced by a majority of the Indian population.
Common spine issues
Slipped disc – A slipped disc happens when the cushions of tissues in your spinal column protrude out. Common symptoms include lower back pain, neck pain, difficulty in bending and muscle weakness.
Cervical Spondylosis – This condition is a result of ageing and chronic wear and tear of the spinal discs in your neck. It is very common and typically worsens as you grow old. It is identified by pain and stiffness in the neck, lack of coordination and difficulty walking.
Muscle strain – Most of us spend a lot of time in front of our electronic gadgets leading to bad posture. Incorrect postures and overuse can cause muscle strains on our neck and back.
Scoliosis – Scoliosis is the sideways curvature of the spine. It is mostly diagnosed during adolescence. Common symptoms include back pain, pinched nerves, uneven shoulders or waist and body leaning towards one side.
Osteoporosis – Osteoporosis is a condition caused by weakened bones in the spine. It is often characterised by symptoms including back pain, stooped posture and damaged bones.
Whiplash – Whiplash is a neck injury resulting from sudden jerking or back and forth movement. If you are suffering from whiplash, you may experience pain and stiffness in the neck, headache, back pain, fatigue and light-headedness.
Compression fracture – With regular overuse and wear & tear, your bones can become weak causing various thin lines of cracks and fractures. This condition can lead to chronic pain.
Simple tips for a healthy back
The spine problems mentioned above can be avoided. Here are some handy tips to help prevent these back issues:
– Use sleep to rejuvenate the spine: Use a firm or medium-firm mattress and keep your spine naturally aligned by using a pillow to match your sleeping position
– Devote 15 minutes every day to strengthen your core: Perform these basic stretching exercises
- Neck rolls
- Shoulder shrugs
- Shoulder rolls
- Standing trunk stretch
- Seated knee to chest stretch
– Wear shoes that support your spine: Good fit shoes provide a supportive base to help the spine and body remain in alignment by preventing pronation or supination
– Lift right by leading with the hips: Unsupported lifting may cause your spinal joints to lock or your spinal discs to rupture. It is best to lead with the hips rather than shoulders and keep your chest forward while lifting heavy weights
– Take breaks: After every hour stand up from your desk or sitting position and walk around
– Correct your posture: Remind yourself and your friends to stop slumping over the desk, practise good ergonomics and keep correcting posture after every 20-30 minutes. This will prevent loading of the lower spine and release pressure form the lumbar discs
– Enjoy the benefits of massage: Moderate-level massage offers a number of therapeutic benefits such as increasing blood flow, reducing inflammation, loosening tight muscles and connective tissues, restoring spinal range of motion, and boosting feelings of relaxation
– Water therapy: Exercise in a pool to reduce downward stress on the spine and reap the benefits of gentle resistance through friction which can strengthen the back
– Soothe your pain with heat therapy: Heat application increases blood flow and brings healing nutrients to the muscles and may provide relief from muscle spasms as well
– Pay attention to warning signs: Left untreated, problems with the spine can worsen and turn serious. Listen to your body and don’t overdo it at the gym or at work, or self-medicate to relieve symptoms. Seek medical care to learn about your spine and take the right course of treatment
Besides the above, you should also avoid smoking to improve your back strength. Smoking restricts the flow of nutrient-rich blood to your spine making it weak. Living a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, staying hydrated, maintaining body weight, getting rest and lowering stress levels can help your back in the long run.
These are simple ways to support your spine and even in chronic conditions, these small changes will aid the healing process over time.
For more information on spine health, book an appointment at the CK Birla Hospital.