One in 5 Indian youths have spine problems; Neurosurgeon Dr Vikas Gupta explains how to tackle it

Dr Vikas Gupta, Director, Neuro & Spine Surgery, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Shalimar Bagh is here to talk about all the ways the youth can take care of their spine.
One in 5 Indian youths have spine problems; Neurosurgeon Dr Vikas Gupta explains how to tackle itOne in 5 Indian youths have spine problems; Neurosurgeon Dr Vikas Gupta explains how to tackle it
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Youth usually denotes the most healthy and productive phase of one’s life, it is generally free of illnesses and full of activity. However, with the rapid evolution of digital lifestyle, current pandemic outdoor activities are restricted, worsened by work from home and no regular work-life schedule. 

In our clinical practice, we notice young people seeking medical attention for backache and neck pain.

The most common cause of these pains are:

- Suboptimal physical activity, 

- Incorrect postures of sitting or even lying down, 

- Injuries resulting from sudden heavy lifting (unaccustomed work, most relevant example would be Deepawali home cleaning) or

- Over-exercising/ workouts after an interval which we call binge gymming.

The other factors which contribute to back pain are:

- Obesity, 

- Sometimes advanced pregnancy in young, which puts a disproportionate strain on the spine.

The precise figure is not available but about 1 in 4 young is affected either by neck or back pain. Such cases require to be evaluated on their work schedule and commutation. Imaging is not required in most cases, neither are medications.

Majority of them are advised to correct their posture, optimize exercise schedule and reduce weight.

Sports injury is another reason for back pain, which is mostly related to contact sports like football, soccer, boxing, hockey, others like horse riding or polo playing. Such sportspersons are at risk of injuring a disc leading to back pain.  

Prevention of backache pain or a healthy spine for young is desirable. Activities like dancing, swimming, cycling ( static or bicycle), walking, running and yoga are recommended for attaining aerobic fitness, thereby leading to strengthening the paraspinal muscles. 

Rarely do a young person need surgery, we offer surgery only in cases where there is a large disc tear leading to compression of a nerve root. This may lead to very severe pain in the area where the compressed root supplies, along with loss of function. In these patients, microdiscectomy is recommended, where the offending disc compressing on the root is taken out with microscopic magnification assistance. The procedure is done under anaesthesia and pain relief is dramatic. Post-procedure hospitalization is a day or two. The patient can resume normal work in about two to three weeks. Recurrence of disc prolapse is uncommon.

It is time that we emphasize the importance of maintaining a healthy spine in these difficult times when our lives are changing to newer normal.  

Also Read: Celina Jaitly shares a heartbreaking story of losing a child as she sheds light on Prematurity Day

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