Have back and neck pain? Blame it on driving

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Have back and neck pain? Blame it on driving

Posted on : Wednesday 5th of April 2017

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If you drive around the city and often feel a strain on your neck and back, beware — this might be a sign of poor health. With the number of vehicles growing at a rapid rate in the city and traffic crawling at snail's pace or coming to a complete standstill, there are bound to be consequences, most of them affecting our health.

While the vehicle population currently stands at 67.22 lakh, two-wheelers constitute more than 70% of the vehicles in the city, whereas cars comprise 15%. With more and more people choosing to commute with their private vehicles, health risks have gone up accordingly.

Doctors say that the most common one is respiratory issue leading to allergies and asthma, and strain on the neck and back. With constant exposure to pollutants and travelling long distances, such cases have increased in the past few years.

Several orthopaedic problems relating to constant driving and less exercise have also cropped up. "I have seen an increase in patients complaining of upper and lower-back problems due to long-distance travel. What adds to the woes is that since people are travelling for a longer duration, they find less or no time to exercise as well," says Dr Mallinath G, senior consultant, orthopaedics, and a joint replacement surgeon.

Not just the back, but people who ride two-wheelers are susceptible to neck strain as well. "People wear heavy helmets these days and that causes a strain on their necks. In addition to this, they carry a backpack, which also causes strain on their back," says Dr Joy Krishna Banerjee, consultant, internal medicine.

Issues relating to impotency too are on the rise, specially for those who travel by four-wheeler for long duration on a daily basis, adds Dr Joy.

Staying on the road for too long may affect you not only physically, but may take a toll on you mentally as well. "Apart from the back or wrist pain that I have, I sometimes get angry while riding my bike and this affects me at work even if it may be for a short while," says Pooja Govardhan, consultant, who travels from JP Nagar to Whitefield on a daily basis. Dr Joy adds that people are always alert while driving, which snowballs into several issues over a period of time. "This state of alertness increases cortisol levels in the human body, which in turn may cause stress, high blood pressure and other problems," he said.

However, there are some who prefer to use office conveyance to escape traffic woes. "I have decided not to drive to work myself. That way I don't have to face bad traffic and don't get frustrated or stressed," says Santhosh Chachadi, software professional.

What can you do reduce the effects of traffic related issues?

Leave early to beat traffic

Park a little away from your destination. Take a walk as this helps blood circulation and improves your posture

Use public transport/company transport

Practise yoga and meditation as this helps reduce stress

Carpool to work

Reduce travel time as much as possible

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