Lower Back Pain & Slipped Disc On The Rise Among Youth
An increasing number of young people are suffering from lower back pain and slipped discs. And it’s being attributed to the use of gadgets hunched over, right through the day.
Dr Ashutosh Jha, Consultant Orthopaedics at Columbia Asia Hospital says, “Most of the people in this age group are working professionals who drive long distances to office. After that, there job requires them to sit in front of a laptop or computer all day. Even during their free time, they’re usually online on social media over mobile phones or tablets. From pleasure, they even use gadgets in bed to read books and catch up with the world before they fall asleep. Such prolonged and abnormal exposure to screens puts unnecessary stress on the spine. It makes them susceptible to sprains in the ligaments that bind the vertebra, resulting in muscles becoming sore. In fact, it even increases chances of problems in the disc.”
The Reason For Spine Problems, Back Pain & Slipped Discs
As spine related problems in youth are becoming rampant in India, the doctor finds that most of the issues occur due to the dual burden of long sitting hours, and abnormal use of spine prompted by gadgets. The most common problem seen in young people are related to the cervical spine and backbone. These include slipped discs, repetitive stress injuries, sore back, lower back pain, sciatica and injuries to the ligament.
In past few years, Columbia Asia has received approximately 50% patients who are below 40, but have serious spine conditions.
“The spine of a human being is originally designed to support movement and when used, our spine remains healthy. The problem in today’s youth is the inactivity of the spine and excessive dependence on and use of gadgets. In past few years, I have received 125 patients who are below 40, but have serious spine conditions. Of these, repetitive stress injury is the most common condition,” says Dr Jha.
What Is Repetitive Stress Injury?
Repetitive stress injury (RSI) describes the pain in muscles, nerves and tendons caused by repetitive movement and overuse. The condition is also known as overuse syndrome, work-related upper limb disorder, or non-specific upper limb pain..
The most important step is to identify the problem in time which lowers the need of medical or surgical intervention.
Tips To Reduce Lower Back Pain & Spinal Stress
“As such as 80% of spinal conditions in young people can be corrected by simple lifestyle modifications. Good nutrition and adequate exercise play an integral role in treatment,” says Dr Jha. Some other tips include:
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Reduce Sitting Time: Get up, off your desk, and take a short walk at regular intervals. Step out for a stroll post lunch and at tea time. In fact, walk-and-talk discussions at work instead of being cooped up in a meeting room is also advisable. At home, incorporate physical activities like household chores, sports, games, evening walks, or dancing, even on weekends.
Exercise: Incorporate light stretching and core strengthening workouts in your week to stay limber and your joints lubricated. In fact, workouts like swimming, Iyengar yoga and Pilates are specifically designed to improve spine health. All three are low-impact workout programs that can help you maintain your fitness levels without causing further wear-and-tear.
Get A Massage: Massages improve blood circulation and can help alleviate the knots and tension in your back. A professional massage from a physiotherapist can be particularly helpful if you’ve got spinal problems like sciatica, lower back pain, slipped disc.
Improve Your Posture: Every time you notice yourself hunching, make an effort to throw your shoulders back, chest out, and sit up straight. Raising your gadgets to eye level with a stand will also prevent you from stressing your neck and back.
Sleep Correctly: It’s common to wake up with a sore neck or back pain because of an incorrect posture while sleeping. Make sure your mattress and pillows are designed to support spine health. You may also use bolsters to elevate your knees to keep your spine in a neutral position. Your pillow should be high enough to help your neck be aligned with your back.
Relaxation Techniques: From taking a 5-minute break to massage your eyes to practicing yoga, meditation, tai chi, and even deep breathing, relaxation techniques can help alleviate stress.