Is Desk Job Taking A Toll On Your Back? Exercises To Improve Your Spine Health – An Orthopedic Surgeon sheds light on the common spinal conditions affecting people today, as well as their causes, prevention and remedies.

Many of you might be in a job that requires sitting for long hours in front of the system, which can affect the spine and neck. The damage is likely more when you slouch or slump while working. People working from home tend to in poor posture, sitting in sofa or lying down on bed. These habits make spine prone for further degeneration. Growing evidence suggest that people with desk jobs are at increased risk of spine-related problems, cervical spondylosis, neck pain and back Pain. Besides poor posture, overindulgence in mobile phone and many of our daily habits are taking a toll on our spinal health.

In an exclusive interaction with TheHealthSite, Dr. Subodh Shetty, Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Bangalore, shed light on the common spinal conditions affecting people today, as well as their causes, prevention and remedies.

Common spinal conditions people face today

Spinal problems affecting people range from children to adolescent, middle age to the old age. Let me narrate a few of the commonest ones. The commonest problem, people read out to the spine doctor is Acute Lumbosacral sprain or Acute Cervical Sprain.

Next more grave problem is slip disc or herniated disc either in the neck or lower back. Here the shock absorber like soft cushioning present in between our vertebral bones gets damaged or degenerated resulting in slippage of the disc. When in the neck, it can result in upper limb problems and when in the lower back it can result in lower limb problems.

In children, we often see Hunchback resulting from a condition called Scoliosis and it is seen in adolescent age group particularly in girls.

In the group beyond middle age, if the spine starts degenerating fast resulting in lumbar spondylitis or cervical spondylitis and causes spinal spondylitis, which causes spinal canal stenosis and weakness of limbs.

In the people predisposed to genetic predisposition for inflammatory condition due to communological reaction, patient develops severe stiffness in the spine, a condition often associated with is called Ankylosing Spondylitis.

In the elderly, above 60 years often we see women, developing acute severe pain in spine and it’s because of osteoporosis where spinal column becomes weak due to lack of bone materials like calcium and depletion of protein.

Let’s understand spondylolisthesis

In the spine, when bone slips one over the other, the condition is called as spondylolisthesis and it can result in severe back pain and difficulty in walking due to neurogenic claudication.

Occasionally, we come across a condition, where the Disc extrudes out by sudden spasm resulting in Cauda Equina Syndrome and can have grave complications of bloating bowel and bladder function.

In our society, infection spreading to the spine can cause the vertebral bone and disc getting eroded and destructed resulting in spondylodiscitis and pus formation over the spinal cord landing up in paralysis of limbs. Here, Tuberculosis or other bacterial infection is commonly identified.

The present health and lifestyle changes with malignancy of different parts of the body can spread o spine as well resulting in secondaries due to cancer. Primary cancerous condition or tumours of spine often affects the spinal cord resulting in meningioma or multiple myeloma like condition.

Daily habits that could be harmful to your spine

Lifestyle related habits which often causes spine problems are many. Nowadays, we see overindulgence in mobile phone watching materials in the phone continuously and nonstop has been the cause of neck and back pain. So, mobiles have made our spine immobile.

In people working on desktop, the posture they attain without following ergonomic rules has impacted spine function to a large extent often people working from home, taken up irrational working pattern like sitting in sofa, lying down on bed makes spine prone for further degeneration.

In case of people travelling daily to and from workplace, on two wheelers or four wheelers, the brunt of travelling on bad roads is taken up by the spine structures where often the disc prolapse happen while crossing on pothole with a jerk or a bump.

Most important is smoking resulting in spine disc degeneration at many areas of spine and it is proved beyond doubt spine degeneration starts early in life in smokers.

Of course, not exercising and developing obesity makes the spine prone for damage and one should follow diet rich in calcium and should be balanced to maintain spine health. Not getting exposed to sunlight results in Vit D deficiency, also a cause of weak back.

Signs and Symptoms that indicate something is wrong in the spine

One of the most common symptoms we come across in our daily practice is neck pain or back pain and it could be sudden or graduate. This is commonly due to Acute Sprain and lack of neck and lower muscle tear. If not attended and rectified, eventually the spine bones start to show clear and tear and the degenerated spine or spondylitic spine makes the area chronically painful.

When degeneration worsens in the spine, the area in the spinal cord comes down, putting pressure on the spinal nerves and spinal cord resulting in weakness.

Simple exercises to keep your spine healthy

Spine region, whether neck or back, can remain healthy by maintaining the flexibility of neck and lower back muscles.

On a daily basis, stretching of neck and lower back muscles is to be done, even at odd times or during working times or after your work. Stretch your neck in all directions to the extreme level. In case of lower back, lie down and lift your legs and hold for few counts.

Effective strengthening to the neck and back can be done by using resistance on your own or with the help of physical trainers.

Simple plank exercises help to strengthen the spine muscles in a big way.

Yoga is a good option to improve spinal posture and spinal balancing. Deep breathing exercises help improve strength of the body as well as strengthen chief part of the spine.

Child’s pose, Cat pose, Cobra pose, Cow pose, Simple Seated Twist, Marichyasana, Standing Side Bend, Triangle pose, Upward Salute Pose, and Downward Facing Dog Pose are some yoga poses you can try for a Spine Health.

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