Lying In Bed With Your Phone May Be Killing Your Back, Warns This Singaporean Sport Doctor

Back pain, a condition that sounds all too familiar. Whether you are a couch potato or an athlete, you've probably experienced some form back pain at some point in your life. No one is safe! 

A note of caution: back pain the leading cause of disability in Singapore. Before you hit the panic button, hear what Dr Dinesh, a consultant in Sports Medicine at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital has to say. He has worked across a range of sports, and major sporting events like the London Olympics and Paralympics. He was also the team doctor with Team Singapore at the 2017 SEA Games.

Dr Dinesh is now hosting a DxD session on back pain. Here are his best tips!

Your device watching posture is the devil

Sitting posture infographic

Do you often experience pain in your back after a long slumber or sitting around in the office for a prolonged period of time?

If you answered yes, it should come as no surprise that it's a result your improper posture and conditioning. 

To combat this, Dr Dinesh suggests to make changes to your daily activities. Try to incoporate regular stretching, exercise, and better posture when you're on your devices.  

Bad posture can lead to serious damage

If you adopt a bad posture while using your devices, it can lead your back muscles weaknening and tightness in the fascia. These are the biggest culprits for the pain you experience!

Over time, degenerative changes might also develop. Dr Dinesh stresses that it's best to find a solution before that happens! (unless the Hunchback of Notre Dame look is in). 

Severe pain could be a sign of other issues 

Back pain

Pain, especially sharp, severe pain that has been getting worse, could be a sign of a more serious condition. These include joint, disc, or nerve issues in the back.

It's best to get yourself checked by a sports physiotherapist, therapist, or physician to be safe. 

Suffering from sciatica? Physiotherapy goes a long way

Sciatica is described as a shooting pain that travels from the buttock down to the leg. This condition develops because your sciatic nerve is irritated somewhere along its path.

There are many reasons why your sciatic nerve is irritated. The most common reason is due to an irritation from the spine, either from a bulging or prolapsed disc. 

Physiotherapy is a great way to improve your symptoms. It helps to increase strength and postural control around your trunk area, while relieving tightness in other muscle groups.

Painkillers are great, but they aren't permanent solutions

Woman taking medicine with water

Popping a pill is indeed a great way to effectively manage acute back pain. However, as the name implies, you are only quelling the symptoms.

Dr Dinesh warns us of the dangers of being overly reliant on them. If you take them continously, the intensity of these painkillers will have to increase in order for it to be effective. You might be scaling the 'pain ladder' too quickly! 

Use paracetamol and anti-inflammatories to ease nerve pain

Paracetamol is a good source of relief from bone pain, while anti-inflammatories help with muscle spasms. This combination can help with (neuropathic) nerve-type pain.

In any case, it's best to get a prescription from a trained doctor. Examples of medications that are more specific to neuropathic pain include pregabalin, gabapentin, and amitryptilline. These can help to dampen down pain responses and alleviate symptoms. 

Aside from medication, there are alternative treatments

If this talk of such intense drug use is making you a little uneasy, you'd be glad to learn that there are alternative treatments available.

Treatments like TCM acupuncture and massage therapy can also help you with your back pain symptoms.

Nevertheless, if your pain is predominantly the type that radiates along your leg, it's best to go for an in-depth assessment with a doctor. If this pain is not handled properly, it could lead to more problems in future. 

Did your folks ever gave you the lecture about standing/sitting straight?

Doctor treating patient verbally

 

Having to constantly mind your posture and adjust your daily routine might sound like a real hassle. But think about it, having to deal with sleepless nights and discomfort from back issues is even more undesirable. A pain-free body is a happy body!


Ever wanted to ask a health question to a specific renowned specialist in Singapore? DxD Sessions are when these expert doctors answer all your questions, for free!

You can Ask A Doctor right away, or view the complete list of DxD Sessions here.


 

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All content posted is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. This Q&A is not a patient consultation and any information provided herein is not intended to replace consultation with a qualified medical professional. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment.

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