Noting that the prevalence of spine problems has increased manifold during the COVID-19 lockdown, a senior Delhi-based doctor says that looking at the increasing number of spine-related cases, it would not be an overstatement to say that there is a silent epidemic building up.
The associated factor is the forced sedentary lifestyle, and prolonged sitting, lack of exercise and poor activity. Poor understanding of spine ergonomics leads to improper posturing and is also contributory, explains Dr. Samir K Kalra, Consultant, Department of Neurosurgery, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
"Spine related consultations have increased and the reason is the primarily sedentary lifestyle that has been forced upon us by the disease. There has been a significant change in daily routine activities in almost everyone's lifestyle in this lockdown period. Backache is considered amongst the most common occupational disorders leading to work-related absenteeism. Neck pain is equally distressing and appalling. They cause a huge economic burden and could become a major constraint in our already weakened economy" Dr. Kalra told IANSlife.
Asked which demographic is most at risk, the doctor points to the elderly among the subsets of people who have been affected more in this period.
"The fact that they already have compromised and weak spinal musculatures along with forced inactivity leading to increased spinal load. The main support for the spine comes from the muscles and it is important to keep them supple and strong. It is difficult for the elderly to do so."
Another subset is professionals working from home, the doctor explains. "Working from home and on laptops for long periods has resulted in a lot of back and neck related issues. This includes not only professionals but also teachers and students who suddenly have been forced to sit for hours and work on screens.
The women of the house are another subset affected due to the additional housework due to lack of domestic help. This coupled with additional stress and anxiety due to the COVID pandemic which is common to all affected people causes a compounding effect."
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