Ignored muscle sprains may cause chronic health issues
Simple life style changes can make a big difference to the pain
Any pain which persists for over three months and does not get cured with medications is termed as chronic pain.
Just a few months ago, AP was a gym enthusiast spending hours doing workouts until he suffered a muscle sprain. He failed to get it treated due to his 12-hour sedentary work schedule.
The sprain affected the Jordanian expat's walking posture, but he ignored it until he was unable to get up from his seat due to acute stiffness in back muscles. Had he taken physical therapy sessions, things would have changed but AP didn't do the treatment until his spine got jammed leaving him incapacitated.
AP is one among the growing number of young patients experiencing lower back pains, which has been blamed for causing more disability than any other condition globally. To address the issue, the World Physical Therapy Day - celebrated on September 8 every year - theme has been centred around chronic pain, with a focus on lower back pain.
Physiotherapists from across the country are raising awareness about the crucial contribution of physiotherapy in keeping people well and independent. "Any pain which persists for over three months and does not get cured with medications is termed as chronic pain, and the most common are neck and back aches. If you ignore such pain and do not take the required treatment it can lead to disability," said Deepa Chandran, head of the physiotherapy department at Prime Healthcare Group.
She said the condition is mostly caused by muscle or ligament strain, disc degenerative disease (which may lead to nerve compression leading to weakness or paralysis), obesity, sudden awkward movement, wrong posture and lack of exercise, which if ignored can cause permanent spinal malalignment. "Back pain is a generalised term; each patient has different symptoms. The physiotherapist plays a crucial role in identifying which muscle has to be focused on and what exercises need to be tailored for it. If taken at the right time, physiotherapy can help people stablise their spine, alleviate back pain, strengthen the core and even escape surgeries."
Cornelia Gloor, head of department at rehabilitation and physiotherapy centre at the RAK Hospital, said the number of patients with chronic pain in neck and lower back are on the rise.
"One big reason for chronic pain is stress. While a little stress is actually beneficial, too much of it can wear us down and make us sick - both mentally and physically. Physiotherapy is important because the therapist not only takes care of physical problems, but also optimises wellbeing by empowering individuals through functional movement, movement awareness along with physical activity and exercises."
Dr Amr Farag, specialist physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Canadian Specialist Hospital, said chronic pain is often associated with anxiety, fear and depression. "The treatment or management of chronic pain starts from the patient itself. With proper education about the nature of one's medical condition, he/she can take precautions to reduce the pain intensity."
Tips to prevent chronic pain
>Simple life style changes can make a big difference to the pain
>Pain increases with stress and unhappiness, anxiety releases stress hormones which increases pain
>Give quality time to yourself - relaxation techniques and a little bit of leisure can make a big change
>Exercises increase blood circulation which washes away the pain toxins, reducing pain and improving the muscle strength.
>Low impact aerobics like walking and swimming improves the bone density and overall health of a patient
>Sit back and take a 20 minutes of "me" time to exercise and live a healthy and happy life