Why are young people suffering from back pain?
More and more youngsters, aged between 18 and 24, are falling prey to back pain incidences. With the number of spine specialty appointments among the young working population of India rising from 25% to 31%, low back pain is no longer considered an ‘old person problem’ and has become a major health bane for the young Indians.
Technology undeniably makes our lives easier; however, the increasing dependence on gadgets often has negative effects on our back which tend to go unnoticed. Long hours at a computer, excessive smartphone use, and very little physical exercise are making this a generation spending their days in pain. A hectic lifestyle is also forcing the millennials to accept pain as an unavoidable part of their daily lives instead of identifying the cause and treating it. With an alarming increase in the prevalence of low back pain in young adults and even those who are barely out of their teens, there is a need for spreading awareness among the public.
Small lifestyle changes and seeking timely intervention from a specialist can offer immediate relief from lower back pain.
Follow the below tips for a healthy back:
1. Active Sitting and good postures
Prolonged sitting in one posture as well as slouching or awkward postures can put undue stress on our back and spinal muscles, causing a strain in the back and neck, and hence pain. The next time you are sitting at your workplace, study table, or the driver’s seat, it is advisable to sit with your back and shoulder blades in contact with the backrest of the chair or seat. Remember to move and change your postures, the more you move the better you will feel.
2. Adjust your computer screen
Poor positioning of the chair, as well as the computer console, can put tremendous strain on the back if you need to sit for long hours. Ensure that the computer screen is at the same level as your eyes, tilt the chair slightly forward, and keep your feet flat on the floor. If sitting back in the chair does not allow the feet to be on the floor, then you can place a small footrest under your feet. Keep your chair as close to the table as possible to avoid excessive forward reaching.
We often tend to use our laptops when working away from a desk or office, which can also result in poor posture if not taken care of. Using a table or an inclined surface to prop up your laptop is beneficial. Using your laptop lying in bed, although very comfortable, can lead to many musculoskeletal issues in your back and neck.
3. Regular breaks are important
One should not maintain one sustained posture for a very long time. It is a good practice to stand up from the chair every now and then, stretch, and change position as well as walk a little.
Are you unable to take a break at regular intervals? There are many stretches and yoga postures that can be done easily while sitting in a chair. Try slowly massaging the back of your head and neck as you relax with easy breathing. This aids in improving the posture and reduces back pain by promoting balance, strength, and flexibility in the spine.
4.Like sitting, do not stand for too long a time
Standing keeps us in an upright position, which requires more muscular effort than sitting. Prolonged standing can reduce the active blood circulation. This, in turn, accelerates the onset of fatigue and causes pain in the legs, back, and neck. As in sitting, walking around a little to give your legs a break or propping them up is beneficial.
While these are the leading causes of back pain afflicting the young millennial workforce; poor dietary choices, mental stress, inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, metabolic bone diseases, and other factors can also lead to low back pain issues. Left untreated or under-treated, low back pain can become chronic over time. A combination of various efforts such as making healthy food choices, ensuring good vitamin-D levels through adequate sun exposure during morning hours, and active therapy that involves back-strengthening exercises can help in treating low back pain effectively.
With inputs from Vidhu Sindwani, Physiotherapist, AktivHealth