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When the refuses to go away PAIN.

Do not ignore that niggling back pain or stiff neck. Here's how physiotherapy can help lead an active life minus aches

C ONSTANT but bearable,the pain did not bother him for a long time. For 36- yearold Himanshu Saxena,a Gurgaon- based bank professional,back pain wasn't a new problem. He had been struggling with it,on and off,for the past three years. This time,however,it was refusing to fade away on its own.

A busy bank professional,Saxena always had a casual attitude towards the niggling pain in his lower back. "Over the years,enduring the pain had become a habit for me.

I considered it a normal and nothing- toworry- about side effect of my hectic work schedule,something that would go away on its own in a week or so," he admits. But slowly,he could feel the radiating pain in his right leg too.

"I didn't realise when it turned into a nightmare.

I tried to treat it with some painkillers and some bed rest but nothing helped," he shares. Soon,normal movements like sitting and walking turned into a big,painful challenge.

When even painkillers failed to work,he decided to seek help.

All this while,Saxena had been struggling with ' mechanical low back pain' caused due to poor posture. Painkillers,rest and sleep could hardly help in treating it. He needed something that could address the root cause of the pain. The answer came in the form of physiotherapy. In just two weeks and with six sessions of physiotherapy he was able get relief from the pain and go back to his routine life. The sessions also helped him correct his postures,so he doesn't make the same mistakes again and put unnecessary stress on his muscles,resulting in acute pain.

CAUSES OF PAIN Experts say that roughly 8 out of 10 people suffer from back pain at some point during their lives. Blame it on sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits,we have lost the innate connection with our bodies. People take pride in working more and sleeping less.

Ache has become an indispensable part of work. If there is a pain in any body part,we first try to ignore it as long as possible -- and until it becomes unbearable.

Pain in the neck,shoulder and back are common complaints of modern living. Modern technology demands we repeatedly use our hands and fingers in unchanging static positions,as well as maintaining postural imbalance when sitting over laptops

imbalance when sitting over laptops and holding mobile phones.

The cause of most of these pains is repetitive stress injury.

Sitting for long hours without taking break,continuous slouching,lack of physical activity and bad posture put unnecessary stress on the muscles,ligaments,tendons and tissues.

"Working for long hours on laptop and desktop causes fatigue to our muscles. If we are not exercising regularly,it leads to weakness of the muscle,which further leads to stress on the bones and ligaments,eventually resulting in chronic pain," explains Dr Amit Narayan,orthopaedic surgeon,PSRI Hospital,New Delhi. If ignored over a period of time,the pain can also become chronic.

INSTANT HELP Whether you are in the midst of fighting an ache or just trying to prevent one,physiotherapy takes care of all. The goal of physiotherapy is to reduce pain,enhance mobility of the joint and increase muscle strength. "A physiotherapist tries to make the patient functionally independent,pain free and able to do daily activities effortlessly," explains Dr Leena Dhawan,head -- department of physiotherapy and rehabilitation,Artemis Hospital,Gurgaon.

With simple posture correction exercises,you not just get freedom from constant pain,but also protect yourself from ' repetitive stress injury'. Today,physiotherapy helps in treating the patients of cardiovascular & pulmonary disease,neurological disorders,sports' injury,orthopaedics and geriatric.

In fact,pregnant women are also advised physiotherapy to keep the muscles toned and fit.

"It helps an expecting mother understand the physical and biomechanical changes that her body is going through. Through

exercises,the muscles are strengthened which not only helps in easing the labour but also fastens the post- delivery phase.

Problems like backache,Sacroiliac joint pain,Pelvic girdle pain can be well- managed with some simple exercises and electrotherapy modalities," says Dr Ragini Agarwal,gynaecologist and director,W Hospital,Gurgaon.

ADVANCED THERAPY The origin of physiotherapy or physical therapy dates back to the time of great physicians like Hippocrates and Galenus,who are believed to be the first practitioners of physical therapy,advocating massage,manual therapy techniques and hydrotherapy to treat people in 460 BC. Today,however,it is no more limited to ' hot and cold' treatment along with some simple exercises. There are different modalities available nowadays. "The advanced biomechanical analysis enables to find out which particular muscle or soft tissue needs to be targeted to eliminate the pain," says Dr B. M. Jha,head -- department of physiotherapy,Fortis Memorial Research Institute,Gurgaon.

Conventionally,only superficial muscles were targeted to bring relief. However,now with the supervised exercise programmes,deep core muscles are targeted and fired ( reactivated or regenerated).

"Physiotherapy The goal of physiotherapy is to reduce pain,enhance mobility of the joint and increase muscle strength. It also helps in correcting posture

Physiotherapy has taken a giant leap with the advanced technology. We can get a complete posture analysis with neuromuscular coordination test. With real- time ultrasound,you can actually see if your muscles are contracting or not while you are exercising your back. The three- dimensional analysis by bio- feedback system can tell which side a neuro patient got the maximum tendency to fall," says Dr Jha. The detailed analysis makes the treatment more effective and swift.

MOVE MORE Pain management has become easier and more efficient with various new modalities of physiotherapy.

Exercising,however,is always the best way to keep your muscles toned and fit. "Thanks to long working hours,work station injuries have become quite common these days. The number of working professionals suffering from back pain,sore shoulder,neck pain,wrist pain,tennis elbow and carpal tunnel syndrome is increasing," informs Dr Jha,suggesting that people need to avoid sitting for long hours at a stretch.

Make sure your both forearms are well supported while writing or working on the computer.

"While sitting,certain muscles get shortened and certain others get overstretched. This places an abnormal amount of force or stress on the joints. Stretching and strengthening the muscles provide optimal alignment of the spine," advises Dr Dhawan.

Smoking is also seen as a risk factor. "Prolong smoking causes narrowing of the blood vessels.

So the blood supply gets compromised and nourishment to the joints decreases," explains Dr Dhawan.

COMMON WORKSTATION INJURIES YOU MAY FACE

CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME Repetitive movements such as typing can cause inflammation and swelling of a tendon,typically in the wrist. The median nerve in the wrist gets compressed due to overuse.

STIFF SHOULDER Constantly looking at the monitor in a hunch posture leads to stiffness in the shoulders.

LOWER BACK PAIN The most common of all,bad posture

and sitting for long hours can seriously harm your back muscles.

NECK PAIN Bending the neck while working on laptop or using iPads or mobile phones puts a lot of pressure on the cervical spine,the part of the spine above the shoulders.

DE QUERVAIN TENOSYNOVITIS It is also known as Blackberry thumb or gamer's thumb. Repeated use of the space bar on the keyboard and even using mouse give you ache in the thumb. It is a painful inflammation of tendons in the thumb that extend to the wrist.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Sep 7, 2015
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