Driving on city roads in India takes its toll on commuters: chaotic traffic, poor traffic regulation, uneven speed-breakers, and pot-holed roads. With the arrival of the rains, the number of people suffering with backache and neck pain, spinal injuries, and skeleto-muscular problems are increasing by leaps and bounds in the city. This is because commutes get longer with traffic jams, and deeply gashed, even cratered and water logged roads cause bumpy rides.
The more serious problems related to accidents that cause spinal injuries are also on the rise. Over the last four years the number of patients suffering from spinal and Musculo-skelaton problems has increased by 20%. Resulting spinal injuries are serious issues as they can lead to chronic pain and loss of work.
Senior citizens and middle-aged people are the ones who complain most of back problems like stiffness and acute exacerbation of cronic pain, due to pothole-ridden roads.
It has been over 3 months that a patient named Bijoy (Name changed) came to us who was suffering from pain in the spinal area. After diagnosing his problem, we asked about his daily routine and he informed us that a lot of his time is taken up with travelling from his home in Ghaziabad to his work place in South Delhi by bike. He crosses NH24, Ashram, Lajpat Nagar, South Ex etc. The ride takes at least 5 hour coming and going back, due to traffic jams caused by the construction on these roads. Also, with many parts of the road being rough, after the rains, the bumps have caused him pain, over a long period. He was then treated by Dr Bibhudendu Mohapatra, Consultant Spine Surgeon, Indian Spinal Injuries centre
Dr Bibhudendu Mohapatra Consultant Spine Surgeon, Indian Spinal Injuries centre said, “Potholes occur due to wear and tear of roads especially in the monsoon, resulting in accumulating rainwater, which makes it difficult for drivers to gauge how deep the ditch it. Injuries like lower back pain, cervical spine pain, and whiplash injury are very common due to potholes. Sometimes, potholes lead to an accident which can turn fatal, or result in brain or spinal cord injury.”
“A few patients, who already had niggling pain, face severe degeneration of the lower back and complain of increasing pain, stiffness, and inability to stand and walk immediately after a bumpy ride. We give them an extensive spinal rehabilitation program focusing on the pain relief and stability of the back. July and August are the months when I notice a rise in back-pain-related complaints. Often, if the pain is bearable, people take painkillers at home and do not come to us. But when they do, the condition is in acute need of treatment,” Dr Bibhudendu Mohapatra.