Back and neck problems are the second most common cause of hospital visits worldwide after the common cold. It is estimated that 8 out of 10 people will suffer from an episode of back or neck pain after the age of 50. Approximately 90-95% of these problems are not serious and are mostly the result of lifestyle problems related to work, activity, posture, injury or are health-related viz obesity, smoking habit, sedentary lifestyle etc.
People who suffer from back and neck pain are unsure about whom to see when to see and what is urgent and non-urgent. When a spinal problem is serious it may need some intervention or surgery but in the case of the majority of patients, it is seldom required. However, there are several misconceptions regarding treatment even in cases when surgery is not required. People are moved from pillar to post between doctors, physiotherapist, yoga treatments, ayurvedic massages, acupuncture therapist, native treatments and also rely on tablets, belts and braces. Stress and depression often result because of chronic back and neck pain and this can be very serious and difficult to manage.
Several myths exist about the management and reduction of pain like
Most patients feel that by being less active, their back/ neck pain will improve.
Women in India are more prone to suffer from back and neck pain because of the nature of domestic chores that include bending, twisting and lifting weights. Also wearing high heeled footwear and carrying heavy handbags increase the chances of back and neck pain. There are several false beliefs that women must avoid getting pregnant if they have back pain or should have a caesarean section if the pain is persistent.
Children are also vulnerable, since carrying heavy school bags lead to the possibility of disc problems as they grow. The elderly are prone to various problems in the spine due to osteoporosis, poor posture and reduced activity. Sitting is now compared to smoking a health-related issue because the majority of us spend time in jobs involving long hours of sitting and this has a huge impact on the body and spine due to poor posture, sedentary lifestyle, stress and obesity.
The major part of the treatment should be focused on education about the pain, possible origin, what can be done to prevent, how to modify your work style, the need for activity and muscle strengthening, losing weight and obtaining good posture.