Supple spine and you have nothing to whine!

October 26, 2017 Bone Health 10688 Views


At 1 am when Kate finally hits the sack, the last thing on her mind is a lumpy pillow. In fact, the minute her head touches the pillow she’s in slumberland not realizing that waking up will be painful! After stress-filled 14-15 hrs a day at a law firm in Michigan, Kate hardly has the bandwidth to think of her posture or the seating arrangement at the congested office. The veterans in their heavy mahogany chairs spend hours in meetings. The clerical staff and the receptionists spend most of their work hours in seemingly comfortable chairs. But these push-backs, rotating, modern-day wonders do more harm than good… it’s the beginning of spondylitis.

What is Spondylitis?

The lower back and hips – these are the places where stiffness and pain originate, a dull ache that persists over three months or so. This type of spondylitis is based around the sacroiliac joints and long periods of sitting, particularly without adequate and appropriate support at the base of the back; will simply aggravate its onset. Another fallout of this bone-muscle stiffness, which tends to affect more men in their teens than women in general; would be a permanent curvature of the back that will lead to an ugly-looking stoop. Kate was lucky as she has always been a fitness enthusiast and began with an exercise plan. Also, early diagnosis through an X-ray almost always helps correct deformity.

Putting it simply, inflammation of the spine is called spondylitis and slumping in the chair, hunched over a computer or laptop is the most common and avoidable cause of getting it. In Ankylosing Spondylitis, which affects .5% of adults, bones fuse together and this kind of degeneration cannot be relieved by medicines. This condition, considered to be hereditary, is a systemic disease (meaning it progressively affects tissues throughout the body, not just the spine,) and also has other symptoms such as fever and loss of appetite. It may even increase your risk of heart disease.

While poor work habits are the chief cause, of spondylitis, there is also a possibility that excessive weight can put excessive pressure on certain joints. Some people have occupational hazards such as lifting heavy weight.

Chronic bad posture also aggravates fatigue and worsens osteoarthritis. It is advisable to consult a physical therapist instead of following random exercises, taken from the net. Another note of caution: Neck pain may further spread down to the shoulder and upper black, leading to disc degeneration which requires prompt medical attention.

So what can you do to support the spine and not let it overextend? Exercise is as crucial as good posture and just setting aside 10-15 mins daily will be a great help.

To maintain a supple spine, follow simple tips such as

  • Whilst lifting, ensure correct posture.
  • Sleeping without a pillow
  • If you need to have a pillow, while sleeping, position our head at the correct angle.
  • Stand with your back erect against a wall. This is the posture that you should maintain while walking.
  • Focus on your posture, make a conscious attempt to correct it, yourself or have your friends and colleagues remind you to ‘unslouch’!
  • Low impact aerobic exercise and strength training may reduce stiffness.
  • Do simple stretching exercise on waking up.
  • Practice walking with a book on your head BUT with shoulders straightened out at the back.
  • In extreme cases, for senior citizens, braces and shoe inserts to correct bad posture may be required.
  • Do not overstress joints.

The spine is not just meant to keep us upright. Since it is connected with muscular, immune, nervous and skeletal systems, it deserves much more care and attention that is given to a “bad back” or when a backache becomes chronic and begins to interfere with normal daily life.

A physiotherapist can greatly help in maintaining normal life functions. He or she will keep you updated about spine arthritis, also known as spondylosis. Commonly referred to as ‘wear & tear’ arthritis, your orthopedic surgeon can guide you about treatment and procedures after obtaining your case history. You must report any sort of pain, numbness or weakness especially in the legs which may make you stumble. Jaslok Hospital has a team of experts to provide you holistic care.

If you are suffering from cervical degenerative disc disease, cervical osteoarthritis or cervical herniated disc, you can consult an orthopedist here.

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