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 Dr Umesh Srikantha

Know tips for managing chronic back pain

Long working hours along with a sedentary lifestyle is putting too much strain on people’s spinal discs and back muscles.

The issue has highlighted the need to take steps and prevent any long-term complications.

While speaking to Drug Today Medical Times, Dr Umesh Srikantha, Consultant - Neurosurgery, Head of Spine Services, Aster CMI Hospital, Bangaluru, said that several reasons like sports injuries, excessive stress over flexible joints and congenital spinal problems can cause chronic back pain among children and teenagers.

Dr Srikantha pointed out that additionally, substance abuse too can cause adolescents to experience back pain.

Referring to available data he said that it has been found that adolescents who smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol and are suffering from mental health conditions like depression and anxiety are likely to suffer from back pain more frequently.

"For instance, 14-15-year-olds who consume alcohol and smoke tobacco experience back pain more than once a week than those who rarely or never had pain,” he added.
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This combination of back pain along with unhealthy habits also creates long-term complications in adulthood.

The use of toxic substances in early adolescence increases the risk of substance abuse and mental health problems in adulthood and makes the developing brain more susceptible to the negative influences of these substances which also has consequences on our spine.

 While explaining tips of maintaining spinal health, he said that chronically poor posture during adolescence in rare cases can stretch the ligaments and can give rise to curved or slightly humped back called kyphosis.

“In a few cases, back pain can also indicate the emergence of unrelated problems to the spine such as Kidney problems that can cause lower back pain problems on either side of the spine. In certain rare cases, back pain can also be caused by a tumour. Therefore, on this world spine day, we share a few tips that can help you maintain spinal health and can prevent back pain,” Dr Srikantha said.

He said that maintaining an upright posture in alignment with the neck and the lower back and following the correct desktop monitor or laptop level can prevent damage to their spines.

Dr Srikantha added that taking short and frequent breaks can help in reducing both work-related mental stress, as well as the physical stress on our spines. Sitting in one position for extended hours is unhealthy and can worsen back pain. Thus, movement while working for longer periods is recommended as it can strengthen the muscles and nerves.

He pointed out that exercises like partial crunches, bridge, hamstring stretches, knee-to-chest, cat stretch, and shoulder and neck rolls can help restore the fluidity of our muscles, joints, and spinal discs and can alleviate the pain.

 Regular brisk walking too is an easy-to-do and effective way to relieve back and spine pain. Walking and exercising can also help in reducing weight, increasing blood flow to the muscles of the spine and raising the oxygen and nutrient levels in the blood which rejuvenates the muscles and relieves pain.

Dr Srikantha added that avoiding fatty foods and consuming plenty of water can also help avoid back and spine problems. Consuming low-fat, calcium and protein-rich diets that are filled with essential minerals can help you in keeping your weight in check and can reduce the overall pressure on your spine.


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