Categories: Spine Surgery

Is your spine health at stake after COVID infection?

Adding to the post COVID complications a number of patients have been affected by multiple spine problems. As far as the spine health is concerned, spine in a human body carries a set of nerves that connect many body parts to the brain and entire spinal cord provides a proper structure to the body, it helps in moving, standing sitting etc. A minor problem in spine can restrict the entire movement of the body. Often back injuries bring persistent pain and restricted movement for long time, but certain lifestyle patterns can also cause a number of spinal problems Including spinal spondylitis, slipped disc etc. According to a study around 60% of the Indian population suffers from low back pain at some point of time. In present times, due to restricted lifestyle pattern and lack of physical activity is adding to the number of the patients of back pain. So how COVID pandemic can add to this number? Let’s get some insight.

Repeated lockdowns and spine health:-

Since the outbreak of this COVID 19 virus, the entire world seems to have shrunk to the online platform. Following the COVID appropriate behavior and the idea of social distancing, the pattern of work from home, online classes has taken a place, this is now the new normal. Now due to restricted and limited physical activities is leading to spine health issues in addition to the bone health issues. We live in an era of rapidly advancing technology and now this pattern of sedentary lifestyle is surely not advisable for the right human body functioning. The compulsion of continuous sitting position in front of laptop and other gadgets affects spine health, it may result in back pain, neck pain or other neurological issues. In long run it can potentially result in a serious problem if not treated early. The habit of taking laptop to the bed or couch by some people, sitting in the wrong body posture for hours and working, eating and sleeping there are simply increasing adding to the back pain patients’ numbers.  Along with that:-

  • Late night work,
  • Stress over work
  • Work under constant pressure
  • Limited or no exercise
  • At times no breaks

are actually being normalized as due to economic constraints fear of losing existing income source makes people strive too hard to maintain it. In the COVID pandemic, the fear of losing jobs or income sources is real but it should not lead to other health issues.

Prevention is the key: Ergonomics:-

The constant back pain can potentially lead to lifelong issues. During this COVID pandemic and work from home schedule we surely need to set our work pattern keeping our health prime. Although we still have restriction to be in our confined spaces in order to reduce the rapid spread of infection, but certain lifestyle changes are surely required to be introduced for the sake of better health. The idea of Ergonomics comes with a set of do’s and dont’s that are focused on preventing spine problems.  It means “fitting a job to the person” which increases productivity and reduces discomfort:

  • While sitting, a person’s posture should be straight, back should not be bending forward or discomforted.
  • The position of hands, wrists and forearms should be parallel to the floor.
  • Head level should be forward-facing, hence your laptop or system’s placing should be set accordingly.
  • Elbows should be stayed closed to the body and should be bent around 90 to 120 degrees.
  • Feet should be supported by floor or a footrest map can be used if the desk height is not adjustable.
  • Thighs and hips should be supported parallel to the floor
  • Knees should be kept at the same height of the hips.

Following the instructions above one cannot even increase productivity at work rather it can reduce the risk of back pain and other bone health issues.

Early diagnosis is the key:-

Persisting back pain issues should be reported early. If you are experiencing such pain then consult a specialist immediately. Simple home remedies and repeated application of ointments without proper prescription will not help rather it may pose a bigger risk. These pains can be early symptoms of diseases from arthritis to other serious spinal issues. The tests done at initial stages reduce the possibility of upcoming risks.

Take extra care of children in this regard. If adults are restricted to be on work from home then they are also restricted to the online classes and lack of physical activity may also cause them harm, that too in their growing age. Keep taking a balanced diet, follow a set of exercise pattern and inspire your children to follow the same. The COVID pandemic may leave us sooner or later, but the problem of additional spinal issues and other diseases should be addressed.

This article is written by Dr. Manish Garg, Consultant – Neurosurgery & Interventional Neurology, Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Delhi

Narayana Health

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