Rippling biceps, toned abs and a perfect Y-figure –without a shred of doubt, this is the latest fashion statement among Indian youths. This fitness trend started almost a decade ago, influenced by Salman Khan and his ilk flaunting bare chests on the silver screen, and you know the rest is history.It was then when the youth from every nook and corner of the country started hitting gyms, spending long hours working out and putting in their best effort to sculpt a fit, toned body that they can flaunt.
While some may consider flabby bellies among men a symbol of prosperity and happiness, and since obesity is rampant, the obsession for a well built physique certainly increased overall awareness for health and fitness. However, experts warn that poor training practices, improper equipment, lack of conditioning, or insufficient warm-up and stretching prior to exercise could lead to serious health issues, especially in the vertebral column.
“Unfortunately, young people do not pay heed to such advices, until they actually start experiencing serious health complications,” says Dr. Puneet Girdhar Consultant-Spine, Orthopaedics & Joint Reconstruction from BLK Hospital.
Like 36 year-old Neeraj Mehra, an engineer by profession, caring husband and loving father, who always managed to squeeze out a couple of hours for his daily workout, but having been diagnosed with problem in his spine had to eventually stop exercising completely.
This is not an isolated case; experts warn that with increasing tendency to go for untrained and inappropriate workouts, rise in sports injuries- a term used to differentiate musculoskeletal problems springing up due to vigorous physical training, is quite likely.
“While an appropriate amount of physical activity is recommended to keep various physiological functions going smoothly, its excess could certainly lead to back problems. The spine is a column of 33 vertebrae, which are kept in place with spongy inter-vertebral discs and ligaments, and too much or incorrect exertion can disrupt this delicate column, and result in serious injuries,” says Dr. Puneet Girdhar.
Focussing on the facts,the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke states that apart from normal ageing and sedentary lifestyle, most of the people between the age group of 30 to 50 years suffer from back problem due to excessive and strenuous work outs.
“Herniated and slipped disc is quite a common problem which could result from strenuous physical activity. While medication could manage a mild condition, for serious situations surgical intervention might be required,” adds Dr Girdhar
Herniated disc develops when one (or more) of inter-vertebral discs rupture, pushing out a jelly-like fluid, due to intense back strain. This leaked fluid initially irritates nearby nerves, eventually extending to nerve compressions which leads to numbness and severe pain in the concerned body part, especially legs, if it is associated with low back pain. Young age of the patients and their necessity to be active calls for such medical interventions which could restore fitness.
However, until sometime back, surgeries in spine treatment required the entire back to be slit open, putting a lot of people off, but thanks to the technological advancements in treatment modalities, which seem all geared up to put an end to the ordeal of patients suffering.
Treatment using MinimalAccess Spinal Technologies (MAST) is one such advent which helps surgically treating disorders of the spine with least disruption caused to the muscles. This can result in quicker recovery, decrease operative blood loss, and speed up the patient’s return to normal functions.
This surgery is very different from the earlier procedure which required the entire back to be slit open. MAST treatment can be done by making two or three small openings and the patient can return to his normal routine soon after recovery.
In some MAST approaches, also called “keyhole surgeries,” surgeons use a tiny endoscope with a camera on the end, which is inserted through a small incision in the skin. The camera provides surgeons with an inside view, enabling surgical access to the affected area of the spine.
The highly innovative cutting-edge equipment used in this form of surgery not only makes MAST feasible but also bring in an element of efficacy to the entire procedure, with as little disruption to the surrounding muscles, nerves and other soft tissues as possible which ensures that visible effect on the skin are as trifling as possible.
“Considering that MAST treatment restores almost complete spine functions and ensures speedy recovery, it is ideal for people who are comparatively younger and cannot afford to be left out from regular activities as retired persons can,” says Dr. Puneet Girdhar
While awareness would continue to playmajor role in helping people avoid conditions developing due to excessive exercise, advanced surgical options could help people suffering from spine problems, resume their normal routine.