Is your back taking brunt of your life?

Is your back taking brunt of your life?

 We often over-estimate ordinary backpain and treat it all too soon. Nature has a huge role to play in the process of healing, says Dr Vidyadhara S.

When the body suffers from an underlying injury, damage or disease, this manifests itself as pain. It has to be understood as a symptom of a problem, and not a disease in itself. It comprises of two primary components – physical or injury-related, and psychological, which is the expression of pain. There are a few cases though where stress can amplify and complicate the feeling of pain.

Treatment

Back and neck pain have an episodic occurrence. With increasing age and repeated episodes, natural healing capacity reduces and risk of recurrence and persistence of pain increases. If we were to let nature take its course – pain tends to heal itself slowly and naturally. Given a minimum of 3 months-time, pain for at least 90% of people heals itself.

But considering the lifestyle most of us lead today, impatience to get better seems to rule the roost. We don’t have the time really to wait and get better and have a range of medicinal and other options before us to choose from.

Here is what actually happens with a few commonly used options:

* More than two days of bed rest actually delays recovery by increasing the psychological component of pain

*  The use of lumbar belts or neck collars for more than a week results in the wasting of trunk muscles

*  Options like physiotherapy, spinal injections and pain killers do not in any way change the natural course of healing

Prevention

Though the right form of treatment is necessary, working at preventing neck and back pain is equally important. For that, an understanding of the spine and its functioning is needed. The spine is made up of 33 bones and every two bones are interconnected with three joints (which are akin to bearings). Movement is an integral part of the functioning of these joints and if they remain immobile for a while, they can get jammed and then break down from excessive or forced movement.

Maintaining a flexible spine will help resist any injury or damage while a stiff spine can be hurt with the smallest of sudden jerks. The best way to prevent back injury is to keep the spine moving on a regular basis and this can be done with yoga. Yoga has scientific proof backing its ability to treat back and neck pain. Iyengar Yoga can be used to stretch and increase the flexibility of the spine and bring down the stress on it. It takes care of both the psychological and physical aspects of back and neck pain. It is advisable to begin yoga when the back and neck pain subsides. This way, you should be able to keep it at bay for life.

Dos & don’ts

* When you are in pain, don’t push your body beyond the point in which you can bear the pain. You will be aggravating it rather than helping it mellow down

*  Stay active, but don’t do this at the risk of injuring or further increasing the pain

 (The writer is a spine surgeon)

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