Tips to Protect Your Spine from Injury
“What You Should Know About cervical & lumbar spondylosis:” Tips to Protect Your Spine
Neck pain with or without Lower Back pain is a common problem associated with busy lifestyle. Back muscles are among the most frequently used muscles in the body, they hold you upright against gravity, carry your body weight and move you around. Just like you, they can get tired and overworked, when that happens, your spine compensates and does extra work, resulting in back pain.
What is spondylosis?
Sitting at your computer for hours at a stretch may cause more than just a backache. It can accelerate the normal wear and tear of your spine and cause spinal problems such as cervical spondylosis and lumbar spondylosis at an early age.
Spondylosis is a degenerative disease of spine, where the joints and cushions (intervertebral discs), that form the backbone wear out. When the cushions and joints of the spine are worn out, the spine loses flexibility and becomes stiffer. Bending of the spine for long periods of time, which typically happens when sitting for prolonged periods ( especially in a slouched position) puts increased pressure on these cushions and joints which tend to become stuck and stiff. It occurs mainly in the neck (cervical spondylosis) or lower back (lumbar spondylosis). As a result of constant friction, wear and tear, bony spurs grow from the joints of spine and occasionally become large enough to cause pinching of nerves. In serious cases, these spinal problems can lead to numbness and weakness in the hands, arms and legs. But with diligent spinal care and early treatment, you can prevent spinal problems from worsening.
What are the sign & symptoms of spondylosis?
This disease is common among people aged 40 and above , but now a days affecting even younger age group, if they have sedentary lifestyle .The main symptoms of cervical spondylosis or lumbar spondylosis include the following:
- Stiff and painful neck
- Lower back pain and tenderness
- Stiffness and difficulty moving the back
- Tingling sensations in one or both arms, hands, legs or feet
- Numbness and weakness in one or both arms, hands, legs or feet
- In severe cases of nerve pinching, difficulty in walking, unbalanced or unsteady gait with a tendency to fall especially when climbing stairs
- Poor bladder control
- Headaches, and occasionally giddiness in severe cervical spondylosis
Tips to protect your spine:
About 90 per cent of the population experience back or neck pain once in lifetime & if proper attention is not given pain becomes chronic, so prevention is best.
- Take short frequent breaks away from the computer ,Sit up straight on and off every 10-15 minutes, periodically stand up, walk around and stretch every hour.
- Keep the top of the computer screen at eye-level, this way you will be looking down at the screen at a 15- to 20-degree angle which is less strenuous on the neck.
- When typing for prolonged periods, sit close to the table and rest the elbows on the table to relieve stress from the shoulders and neck.
- Adopt a good sitting posture
- Use a chair with comfortable & good back support
- Adjust the driving seat of your four wheeler in such a manner that your back should remain straight & comfortable
- Do regular stretching and strengthening exercises.
- While sleeping use a pillow of optimum thickness, so that your shoulders & head remains at the same levels
- Try to reduce your weight if you are overweight
- Take a healthy diet which is rich in calcium & proteins
- Females must take calcium supplements in consultation with their doctor (especially if they are above 45 years of age) to prevent risk of osteoporotic fractures
- Avoid smoking which carries risk of osteoporosis (calcium deficiency in bones)
When to see a doctor for back pain
Acute back pain which is typically caused by simple muscle strain, usually lasts less than two weeks. Chronic back pain, on the other hand, is any pain that persists for more than three months. It is common, especially among those aged 55 and above, and can be caused by ailments such as a slipped disc, spinal arthritis or disc disruption – a wear and tear of the “spring” in between the bones of our spine. You should consult a specialist in the following situations:
- If the pain in your back is not getting better after some time, or if it’s getting worse
- If the pain interferes with your daily activities
- If your pain is worsened by bending over, or by coughing and straining
- If you have severe neck pain or back pain while turning in the bed or changing your body posture
- If the pain shoots down one side of your leg to the foot
- If you feel numbness or a tingling sensation in hand or feet along with neck pain or back pain
- If you feel weakness of your limbs along with neck pain or back pain
- If you have difficulty in controlling urine or motion along with back pain
Treatment of spondylosis
Doctors usually recommend muscle relaxants and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen to relieve the pain and stiffness, this is often combined with hot fomentation & application of tropical agents over the back of neck or lower back area. Physiotherapy & muscle strengthening exercises should be avoided during acute pain. Once you have a substantial pain relief, physiotherapy to stretch and strengthen the spine and lower back and neck muscles can be started.
Surgery to remove bone spurs or affected discs is recommended for patients experiencing severe neurological problems such as weakness, pain and numbness in the arms and legs.
“Spinal problems caused by cervical and lumbar spondylosis are not life-threatening, but if left untreated, can lead to increased pain and decreased flexibility and mobility. When nerves are pinched, damage to them often occurs, resulting in permanent pain, numbness, weakness or poor coordination.”
Advances in medical technology have made minimally invasive spinal surgeries possible even for patients with severe spondylosis. These patients can expect less post-operative pain and faster recovery,
Cutting-edge medical technology – including minimally-invasive surgery – and the expertise of its specialists make the Department of neuro-spine Surgery at Metro Hospital, Faridabad a premier referral centre for spine surgery in this region.