Tuesday 28 Sep 2021

Spine care should not be ignored because of Covid, says orthopaedic spine specialist

Dr Sunny Kamat | OCTOBER 16, 2020, 12:26 AM IST

Covid-19 has drastically changed the way the world runs. People are learning to embrace the new normal which has forced us to undergo major lifestyle changes. Working from home, end-to-end household work, unhygienic eating habits, minimal exercise, and increased amounts of stress are causing a lot of physical drainage in people. One major problem that people are experiencing in this new lifestyle is regular back pain.

In this Covid-19 era, due to work from home culture, poor ergonomics at home, and scarcity of maids during lockdown has resulted in lots of strain on our backs. But most of the time it is self-limiting and goes away even without doing anything. This is because of most of the back problems can be addressed by exercises or modifications in lifestyle & activities or medications. In some cases, if the pain gets aggravated and radiates to the legs or stays for a long time, people must consult the doctor. Sometimes postponement of diagnosis can cause loss of muscle strength or foot drop which can potentially lead to Cauda equina syndrome, which is caused due to large intervertebral disk prolapse compressing the spinal nerves. In this condition, the patient can develop paralysis below the waist along with loss of bowel and bladder control which, if not treated on time, can cause irreversible damage to nerves. The fear of Covid-19 should not keep us away from getting treatment for such back pains as they can cause serious damage to the spine.

With the advancement of technology, the complexities of surgeries are minimized with several innovations which can also reduce the time required for the treatment. For example, Minimally Invasive Spine (MIS) Surgery, also called as Key Hole Surgery, is one such innovation which possesses enormous supremacy in comparison to open spine surgery, as it is performed through a small incision. With MIS surgery, there is no collateral muscle and tissue damage as there are minimal muscle and tissue splitting. This also cuts down the hospital stay to just one or two days and the patient experiences very minimal post-surgery pain as compared to open spine surgeries. 

Online consultations are picking up pace where doctors can address the concerns of the patients and provide them with suitable medication or prescribe tests, if necessary.

Despite this, if the back problem persists then you can either opt for an online consultation or visit a doctor by taking all the precautionary measures. Use a face mask, avoid unnecessary physical contact, sanitize regularly, and don’t break social distancing norms. Let’s keep ourselves and our dear ones away from this virus and make our health safety an utmost priority.

(The writer is Orthopaedic Spine Specialist, Manipal Hospital, Goa.)

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