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Check That Ache

Thursday, November 10, 2016

If you often complain about backaches but are unable to figure out why you’re constantly plagued by them, answer these questions to find out what you’re doing wrong, says Jagruti Verma

Backaches are uncomfortable, annoying and often very difficult to treat. Painkillers and ointments may give you temporary relief, but it’s about time you figured out what’s causing them so you can prevent them from hindering your daily activities. We spoke to Dr. Abhay Nene, spine surgeon at Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai Central, and Akshata Dorkadi, senior physiotherapist at the H.E.A.L Institute for a few tips to keep your back in good shape. Take this quiz to find out if you need a lifestyle change to save your back. 

Where do you keep your wallet when you sit on your chair at the office?
a) It’s where it always is; the back pocket of my trousers!
b) I generally put it in my bag or desk drawer. One less thing to worry about!

Expert speak: Akshata tells us that you are doing it wrong if you put your wallet in your back pocket. When you sit for long hours, your mobility is reduced, which in turn leads to stress on your spine. This causes your lower back and hips to hurt. The right choice here is the second option.

How do you spend most of your time at work?
a) I sit down and then work, work and work! Why else would they pay me?
b) Although I do work hard, I take a few breaks to keep myself active.

Expert speak: Dr. Abhay tells us that taking a few breaks during your work day is important. Sitting in one place for too long is the most common cause of back and muscle pain. This is because when you sit for too long, your muscles slowly begin to switch off instead of bearing half the load in partnership with your back. Since all the load now rests on your back, it begins to degenerate and this could cause back issues in the long run.

Would you say your chair is comfortable enough for you to sit on?
a) I hardly notice! But, I do feel a little pain in my neck.
b) We are considering asking for better chairs!

Expert speak: Akshata says that you should be picky about your chair, even if you run the risk of sounding a little whiny at work. Choose one that supports your spine and has a slight recline. Also, make sure you set your chair so that your knees are at right angles, with your feet firmly planted on the floor. Focus on keeping your neck upright instead of hunching.

Is driving to work a regular affair for you?
a) Yes, and it sometimes takes me four hours to and fro! But, do I have any other option?
b) I prefer using public transport, but the rush makes me feel dizzy!

Expert speak: Dr. Abhay tells us that road travel can cause severe back pain. Bad, bumpy roads can cause recurring injuries and strain your spinal discs. And, long hours of travel are when this is most likely to happen. Try to pick good roads, even if takes you a little longer to reach your place of work. If you do have to travel for long hours, take at least one break in between — as silly as that sounds, it will benefit your spine. Simply get out of your car for a few minutes and stretch.

Do you feel a little pain in your neck and upper back area when you work?
a) I complain about that every day!
b) Regular massages and vacations are my pain relievers.

Expert speak: It’s time to focus more on your back! The tiniest things can lead to big problems, but the good news is that fixing them requires making just a few minor adjustments to your daily routine. Remember to stretch properly on a daily basis, take breaks in between long hours of sitting and try to pick a smooth road to travel to work by. Try to keep your pockets (especially your back pockets) as empty as possible and don’t carry your bag on just one shoulder.

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