As youngsters flock to physiotherapy centres, experts reveal how one can avoid the pain
For twenty six-year-old Tarini Sharma, a graphic designer at a publication in Delhi, a working day means sitting in front of a screen for eight hours, with two 15 minute breaks to grab a bite. Three years into this lifestyle and she now spends a chunk of her salary on physiotherapy sessions for her left foot and back. "It started with some neck pain, which I ignored. I don't get any exercise and we order in meals, which is unhealthy," she says. The resultant weight gain has also only aggravated the pain.
Tarini isn't alone in this losing fight against an unhealthy lifestyle. Many in their 20s and even in their teens are now spending a lot of time in physiotherapy, due to ailments like neck pain and backaches, which experts say is a result of poor posture and lack of physical activity. Saurabh Mathur, head physiotherapist, Prohealth Asia Physiotherapy and Rehab Centre, Defence Colony, says, "Youngsters are facing a lot of health issue due to their sedentary lifestyle, high-stress level jobs, less mobility and unhealthy eating habits.
THEY reduce the BMR (Basal metabolic rate), which leads to inflammatory reactions, depletion in muscle mass and muscle strength due to inactivity." "Add to all this the overuse of phones, tablets and laptops, and the person's health goes for a toss," says Dr Surender Singh, head, department of physiotherapy, Fortis Hospital, Noida, who recently treated a 16-year-old girl suffering from neck and upper back pain because of sitting continuously for long hours. She also had structural changes in spinal curvatures in the sagittal and corneal planes.
Dr Dharam Pani Pandey, director and HOD, physiotherapy, BLK Super Speciality Hospital, also had an encounter with a young patient - a 12-year-old girl with neck and shoulder pain due to muscular imbalance, which she had developed due to poor posture. In the last month itself, he has treated a 26-year-old man suffering from neck and shoulder pain because of his desk job and poor posture, as well as a 30-year-old woman with knee pain, aggravated after a dance she indulged in. at a wedding "Young patients come in with neck, shoulder or anterior knee pain," Dr Dharam says.
But Dr Parmila Sharma, HOD, physiotherapy, Paras Hospitals, Gururgram, points out that youngsters are also suffer from traumatic spinal cord injuries due to driving fast, drunk driving, careless driving and inexperience.
And this weather is especially bad for joints and muscles. Says Preeti Choudhary, physiotherapist, Columbia Asia Hospital, Ghaziabad, "Frozen shoulder, lower backache and knee pain are common in the winter. Elasticity and morbidity of the bones reduce in the winter, making it stiffer. Blood circulation in the hands and feet is compromised, making it painful. Also, we tend to feel the pain more intensively due to the cold." Dr Surender adds, "We decrease water intake, resulting in muscle stiffness. Also, our nature of muscle extensibility is directly proportional to the tem-perature. So, our muscles stiffen leading to pain and discomfort. We also don't indulge in physical activity which hampers our soft tissue mobility leading to aches." Dr Dharam adds, "In the winter, there's a tendency for the muscle to be more susceptible to injury as it's not naturally warm. So, do muscle warm-up sessions before you do any exercise to avoid injury."
Some measures people can take include engaging yourself in 30-40 minutes of cardio workout three-four times week to boost your metabolism. Saurabh says, "Engaging in regular exercise is crucial. Stick to a scheduled class or partner-based activity. Take short breaks while working at your desk and take a short walk or do stretching exercises at your desk. Drink at least one-two litres of water daily."
Preeti adds, "Balanced nutrition is crucial, with due intake of calcium, proteins, iron, and vitamin D. Soak up some sun as it's the best source of vitamin D. Be careful to avoid injuries due to ignorance, carelessness or non-adherence of safety standards and guidelines."