Even as World Spine Day was observed on October 16, doctors say the new normal has been relegated to people working from home with no standardised work hours, higher than normal workloads and very few avenues for leisure and social life.
“Several factors have led to patients presenting with multiple pains, predominantly related to the low back and neck and sometimes headaches. Pains due to degeneration of the spine, disc prolapse and other issues due to wear and tear of the spine are becoming common. These are usually self-limiting and very few of them require surgery or intervention.
However, the pandemic had led to postponing the surgical procedures and those have led to further issues,” said Dr Parthasarathy Srinivasan, orthopaedic surgeon and spine specialist at Mehta’s Hospitals.
Doctors also say that youngsters are becoming victims of spine-related complications and ankylosing spondylitis is another common issue being reported in younger adults.
Dr S Ramakrishnan, senior consultant rheumatologist at Apollo Hospital says, “Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is an Inflammatory Rheumatological disease which affects the spine and peripheral joints. If it is left undiagnosed and untreated, it results in a stiff spine, named Bamboo Spine. The affected patients become incapacitated. This disease is predominantly seen in the age group of 20-40 years. The patients with AS usually presents with low back pain which worsens at night and early morning. They have severe early morning low back stiffness which becomes better with exercise. More often it is wrongly diagnosed as low back pain due to disc disease.”
He says the challenge lies in the diagnosis and the causes for delayed diagnosis of AS is poor awareness of the disease among the lay public and poor availability of MRI imaging, which is specific to diagnose AS. “Biologics drugs, along with rehabilitation with regular exercise and lifestyle modification is important.”