Fatigued at the end of the day? Blame your posture

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

Head and backache and muscle tension are all outcomes of a poor posture

New Delhi, 7 January 2019: According to a recent study, poor posture while working on the computer can lead to fatigue, increased muscle tension, and even injury to the vertebrae over time. The seemingly harmless posture can even limit the ability to turn your head. When the head juts forward at a 45-degree angle, the neck acts like a fulcrum, like a long lever lifting a heavy object. However, with a tall and erect posture, the back muscles can easily support the weight of one’s head and neck.

People who suffer from headaches or neck and backaches from computer work must check their posture. It is imperative to ensure that the head is aligned on top of the neck, as if held by an invisible thread from the ceiling.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Postural dysfunction or “poor” posture is one where the spine is positioned in unnatural positions. The curves are emphasized which puts stress on the joints, muscles, and vertebrae. This prolonged poor positioning leads to a build-up of pressure on these tissues. Although physiotherapy can help solve this problem, it is important to correct one’s posture at the outset. Sitting for a long time in the same position can put pressure on the back muscles and spinal discs. Further, slouching can over-stretch the spinal ligaments and strain the spinal discs causing major pain in the back and neck. Prolonged standing also has its own health implications. Keeping the body upright needs a lot of muscular effort. Standing for a long time leads to pooling of blood in the legs and reduces active circulation of blood. This accelerates the onset of fatigue causing pain in the leg, back, and neck muscles.”

Some symptoms of back and spine problems include weight loss, elevated body temperature (fever), inflammation (swelling) on the back, pain down the legs and below the knees, urinary incontinence, difficulty in urinating, fecal incontinence, and numbness around the genitals.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Apart from wrong posture at work, prolonged use of mobile phones is another major cause of spinal problems today. Keeping the right amount of curvature in the back takes pressure off the nerves and will reduce back pain. If you experience fatigue or pain when you wake up in the morning or after you’ve been sitting at your desk for a couple of hours, it may be an indication that your posture is not right.”

Some tips from HCFI

  • Get moving. Physical activity helps in keeping the joints fluid. A person who is not physically active is more susceptible to back problems.
  • Eat healthy. If you maintain good eating habits, you not only will maintain a healthy weight, but you also will not put unnecessary stress on your body.
  • Sleep sideways. The best position for sleeping is on your side. If you are sleeping on your stomach, put a pillow under your lower abdomen to help take stress off your back.
  • Correct your posture and avoid stress. The importance of good posture cannot be overlooked in preventing back problems. Additionally, stress can tense your muscles, and constant tension of this kind can cause back pain. Thus, it is important to find ways to reduce stress.

Good Idea: AIIMS relocates its OPD 500m away

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Last week, AIIMS, New Delhi announced shifting of its block 500 m away from the main campus to Masjid Moth. The new OPD block will be functional by March this year. The Institute plans to run free transport services between the main campus and the new OPD bloc. This move will help decongest the main hospital and, therefore, allow better management of inpatient facilities. “The existing OPD may be utilized to expand emergency medicine and other inpatient departments, depending on need assessments,” an official said… (TOI, Jan. 3, 2019)

When planning a hospital, OPD complex should be away from the main hospital building to reduce the chances of hospital and healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs).

The World Health Organization (WHO) has defined HCAI as an infection occurring in a patient during the process of care in a hospital or other health care facility which was not present or incubating at the time of admission “they first appear 48 hours or more after hospital admission or within 30 days after discharge”.They are also called nosocomial infections or hospital-acquired infections.

HCAIs occur in all settings of care, including acute care within hospitals and same day surgical centers, ambulatory outpatient care in health-care clinics, and in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities.

Today hospital OPDs cater to all types of patients; whether from the community with new illness or a follow up patient after a hospital discharge. Patients with community-acquired infections in an OPD located in a hospital setting have high chances of acquiring a serious hospital aquired infection.

Therefore, community OPDs should be separately located from the hospital. Community OPDs serve as the first point of contact for the general population. An example of Community OPD is the Mohalla Clinic, which provides basic medical care for common health problems. Mohalla in Hindi means neighborhood or community.

Shifting of OPD is a good move by AIIMS and will help in reducing cross infections to community patients and their relations.

Dr KK Aggarwal

Padma Shri Awardee

President Elect Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania   (CMAAO)

Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications

President Heart Care Foundation of India

Past National President IMA