Brain and Spine Surgeon Dr Ravi Garg debunks myths about back pain

Says ‘painkillers and spinal belts’ not the solution

Brain and Spine Surgeon Dr Ravi Garg debunks myths about back pain
Dr. Ravi Garg, a seasoned brain & spine surgeon at JP Hospital.

Chandigarh: With people being confined to their homes during the lockdown period and the concept of ‘work from home’ gaining prominence, people in tricity have been spending long hours in front of computer, laptop & smartphone screens. The prolonged hours in one position has been instrumental in the surge of back & cervical related cases, shared Dr. Ravi Garg, a seasoned brain & spine surgeon at JP Hospital.  

According to Dr. Ravi Garg, “Back pain, particularly lower back pain is the most common form of pain. Chronic back pain is a leading cause of disability worldwide and one of the most common reasons for people of working age to drop out of the workforce. Earlier these health problems used to be seen in over forty years old patients but now the issue is being witnessed in even less than 30-year-olds."

He said that about 70-80% of the population experiences back pain at some point of their life. Most of the time the cause of pain is mechanical which means it is because of strain on muscles. But some other causes may be slip disc, lumbar spondylosis, lordosis, spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis etc.

Dr. Garg highlighted, “Back pain may be localised to back only or there may be associated with radiating pain in one or both the legs. Usually, if the pain is mechanical it settles by itself and can occur in intervals, which is not worrisome. But there are some symptoms like radiating pain in one or both the legs, weakness, tingling or numbness urinary or stool retention etc, which should be taken seriously & a doctor should be consulted. Most of the time back pain and radiating pain get better with conservative treatment. But if in patients even after trial of conservative treatment intractable pain persists, in some of such cases surgery is a good option. ”

Bursting the myths of back pain, Dr. Garg debunked the notion that wearing a spinal belt and using pain killers can bring to end back pain problems.

He underlined, “Wearing spinal belts for a prolonged period may weaken the spinal muscles and should be avoided in the long term. And if some people think that painkillers are the only treatment they are wrong. Painkillers are advisable for short duration for acute pain but its prolonged usage may lead to side effects like gastritis, ulcers etc.”

So what is the prescription? Dr Garg’s advice is a prevention strategy to start with. He suggests that one should avoid long sittings in the same posture in front of computer screens. Adds Dr Garg, “Taking a break in intervals or walking for a minute in the middle of work is a good practice. Children should abandon the bad habit of reading, whilst sitting on bed. And while reading or doing work one should always make sure that his or her neck does not bend too much.”  

Sums up Dr Garg, “Do regular exercises and maintain body weight because over weight also increases the pressure on the lower back.”