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Updated: August 28, 2013 00:59 IST

Bone-rattling ride

M. Sai Gopal
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Physicians blame back and neck pains on bad roads

It’s not just the general inconvenience that the public in Hyderabad endure due to bad roads. The badly maintained roads also cause a lot of bone-related ailments. With the public spending anywhere from three to four hours daily on commuting, cases of back, neck and shoulder pains have gone up in the last few years. Physicians blame the trend on bad roads and, of course, bad driving posture.

Back pain is the most common ailment that two- and three-wheeler drivers have to contend with in the city. Thanks to potholes and uneven surfaces, the back muscles suffer owing to the constant stress and strain of driving. By the end of a drive, more often than not, commuters are left with a sore back and even injuries.

The situation gets complicated for the elderly who have osteoporosis, a condition of brittle bones owing to low calcium levels. They are susceptible to fractures even while travelling in buses. “On flat surfaces, driving should not be for more than four hours a day. It should be less on uneven surfaces. If patients feel that their activities of daily living have been hindered due to back pain, they should consult an expert,” suggests Dr. G.P.V. Subbaiah, senior spine surgeon, Sunshine Hospitals.

According to doctors, patients should change their driving posture. “Maintain shock absorbers, take measures to avoid handle vibrations, which cause neck pain or cervical spondylosis, a common problem among vehicle drivers,” says Dr. B. Ravi Babu, head of orthopaedic department, Gandhi Hospital.

The treatment modalities involve administering pain relief medicines, physiotherapy and back-strengthening exercises. “The body should be strong and fit enough to endure the shock it suffers while driving. Strengthening the back muscles is important, because they endure a lot of trauma while driving. I suggest exercises to avoid neck, shoulder and back pains,” says Dr. N. Somasekhar Reddy, orthopaedic surgeon, Apollo Hospitals.

Physicians also lay blame on bad posture for bone-related ailments while driving. “Imagine the pressure on the back when one drives on a bad road sitting haphazardly? Right posture and adequate strengthening exercises are a must to navigate roads in Hyderabad,” sums up Dr. B. Balraju, senior general physician, Yashoda Hospitals.

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