World Spine Day: Arthritis, poor posture, obesity, and psychological stress can also cause or complicate back pain, neck pain and other spinal problems.
By Dr. Subodh Shetty
World Spine Day: According to the Global Burden of Disease 2010, back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. At some point in their lifetime, about 80 per cent of adults experience lower back pain. It is the most common cause of job-related disability and the main reason for missed work-days. Our back is made up of a complicated structure of bones, joints, ligaments and muscles. Sprained ligaments, strained muscles, ruptured disks and irritated joints, all of which can lead to back pain. Back pain and neck pain can be caused by a number of reasons like continuously sitting in a chair for a long time, standing on one foot, carrying something heavy or sleeping in a wrong position. Arthritis, poor posture, obesity, and psychological stress can also cause or complicate back pain, neck pain and other spinal problems.
But people are heard complaining about acute back pain and neck pain mostly after waking up in the morning. Sleeping on an inappropriate mattress or having uncomfortable pillows can be a prime reason for this. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, or you are sleeping at the wrong times, or have poor quality sleep, you’re likely to feel very tired during the day making it difficult to work, learn, focus or react. Morning back pain is a big issue to treat as most of it probably has various subtle chronic causes. However, there may be some opportunities for relief by changing the way we sleep. Because there are several causes of back pain, we cannot gauge where the actual pain is originating from.
However, your mattress can also be a primary reason for discomfort. When it comes to choosing the right mattress, it is important to get the correct support for your spine. While buying a new mattress or bed, don’t hesitate to try it out. Lay down for a while to make sure that the mattress is the right one for you. Check for the length and width of the mattress as well, enough for you to sleep comfortably.
There are different kinds of mattresses available in the market like Innerspring Mattresses, Memory Foam Mattresses, Latex Mattresses, and Air Mattresses among many others. A mattress that is too soft will not provide support for the areas that need it, allowing the spine to spend long periods in unhealthy positions, whereas hard mattresses can put too much pressure on the areas where you feel discomfort. It is always wise to get medium-firm memory foam or latex mattresses, as these are better choices. Doctors sometimes recommend very firm orthopaedic mattresses to people with lower back pain. But recent surveys have shown that people who use extremely firm mattresses may have the poorest sleep. However, a mattress that’s too soft won’t help very much with alignment.
This, in turn, can cause a number of spine-related disorders which require immediate attention and surgeries like lower back pain treatment, disc replacement surgery, lumbar decompression, sciatica surgery, among many others. When the pain becomes persistent even after months of conventional treatments, it gradually starts affecting your lifestyle and can alter your sleeping patterns. Even the simple daily chores will seem like a huge task. In such cases, surgeries like herniated disc surgery, disc replacement surgery, sciatica surgery, spinal cord treatment, sciatic nerve treatment can also be opted for better mobility and to get relief from back pain and neck pain. Spinal surgeries not only help ease the pain without painkillers but will also improve your mobility, thereby making you more productive at work.
(The author is Apollo spectra hospital, Koramangala, Bengaluru. Views expressed are personal.)