Spine Health Series - Spine Injury

December 10, 2019
Dr. G. Balamurali

Continuing with my spine health series, today, I will be sharing some knowledge on spine injuries, the types and the reasons. When I say spine injury that first thought that may occur to you would be, well, our spine gets injured due to accidents or a fall from a height. Oh yes, they do hurt the spine. But no, that’s not what I will be talking about today. I am going to touch upon an often ignored, yet a severe cause of concern for our spine - injuries caused by our erratic lifestyle.

Some Stats & Figures

Before we dwell upon the factors that can injure the spine, you should first know that injuries to the spine can occur at every microlevel in several places within the spine, including the

  • 1. Discs
  • 2. Bones
  • 3. Joints
  • 4. Muscles
  • 5. Ligaments
  • 6. End plates of the vertebrae

Let me now share what statistics reveal about back pain due to spine injuries. Back pain is the

  • 2nd most common symptom that people present to a doctor
  • 3rd most common cause of surgeries worldwide.
  • 5th most common causes for hospitalization

It is also significant to note that 8 out of 10 people suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. Isn’t it also quite alarming that 95% of our back problems are due to mechanical strain, primarily due to lifestyle and work style?

You should be curious to know if there are specific factors that directly affect our spine and increases the risk of back pain. Let us look at them now.

Factors Affecting our Spine

  • 1. Lifting - Lifting more than 5 to 7 kg is not suitable for your back. Bending and lifting things is more dangerous.
  • 2. Posture - A wrong posture, like say, slouching and using your cell phone with your neck to one side is very bad for your back and neck.
  • 3. Heavy School Bags - These days, children carry hefty bags to school. This causes repetitive trauma to their backs over a period of time
  • 4. Handbags - One of the critical factors affecting spine health in women is their heavy handbags. These handbags can weigh several kgs at times, and this causes pain in shoulders and back.
  • 5. High Heeled Footwear - This is the other major factor impacting spine wellness in women. Wearing high-heeled footwear can elevate your posture, but can be very bad for your back. Prolonged use of such footwear can be harmful in the longer run.
  • 6. Fitting dresses - Tight-fitting clothing around the waist can cause unnecessary stress to the back.
  • 7. Old age & Lifestyle - With old age, you get slower, more sedentary and not adequately exposed to sunlight. Lack of Calcium and Vitamin D may also lead to osteoporosis and result in bad posture.
  • 8. Sports - Sports injuries can also result in back pain in those who engage in active sports.

Now that we have understood the factors causing back pain let me now share you some tips on how to avoid injuring your back. Visit any leading spinal neurosurgeon in Chennai, India for your backache, the below is what they will recommend

How to avoid injuring your back

  • 1. Lifting weights - Remember! It is hazardous if you twist & turn or pull/ push when lifting heavy objects. This may cause a lot of pressure on your back and can cause grave injuries. Those who employ people in jobs that involve lifting weights, please do teach your employees how to lift without injuring themselves.
  • 2. Posture - It is essential to learn how to sit correctly. Do not slouch, but sit erect. Maintaining the right posture can itself prevent back problems
  • 3. Avoid prolonged sitting - Avoid sitting in awkward positions, and avoid standing for too long. Prolonged sitting and standing, both are harmful.
  • 4. Using mobile phones - We are using mobile phones quite commonly these days. The point to note, however, is that we unconsciously get into a bad posture while we are using our cell phones. Use handsfree support or a Bluetooth device to avoid causing too much stress on your neck.
  • 5. Computer Jobs - When working on a computer for long periods, ensure that your arm height and seat height are at appropriate levels, to not cause undue stress to your back and neck.

To summarize, you need to learn to look after your back before it is too late. Please follow the guidelines I have shared above and make the required lifestyle modifications now. These are important to ensure that you do not cause injuries to your back over a period of time. Back pains are particularly too painful when you enter old age. I am sure you do not want that to happen.

Let me leave you with this thought below until I meet you next.

“Do Something Today That Your Future Self Will Thank You For”

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Internationally trained Spinal Neurosurgeon with 24 years of surgical experience, from UK. Extensively trained in all niche aspects of spinal surgery as part of 3-year fellowship in the UK (Liverpool & Nottingham), USA (San Francisco & Chicago) and Switzerland (Zurich). Senior Spine and Neurosurgeon in India since 2011.
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About Dr. G. Balamurali
Head of Spine Surgery
Consultant Spine and Neurosurgeon
MBBS, MRCS (Ed), MD (UK), FRCS (Surgical Neurology)
Fellow in Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery - UK, USA, Switzerland
Fellow in Complex Spine Surgery – UK, Switzerland
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