Women have more spine problems than men and even delay treatment

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Women have more spine problems than men and even delay treatment

Posted on : Thursday 10th of August 2017

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Not only do more women than men suffer from spine problems, but their problems are also more severe, according to a study by a city hospital. Women also reach out for medical help much later than men, added the study . It is accepted that Indian women neglect their health, even if they are suffering from flu or tuberculosis. But the chronic pain associated with spinal problems underlines just how much women delay treatment.

"More women suffer from spine problem and for a longer period of time," said Dr Vishal Peshattiwar of the spine surgery department at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Andheri, who is conducting the study . He said a woman wouldn't seek medical attention until she is literally bed-ridden. "I have heard women tell me that as they couldn't do housework anymore, they decided to meet a doctor," said the doctor.He recalled a recent case in which a husband brought his 35-year-old wife who could barely walk. "I told him she needed surgery , but he said he would have to save for up to a year for the operation. The woman's plight was not mentioned," he added. The study's main finding, according to Dr Peshattiwar, is the average wait for surgery for women in pain is longer than of men. "Around 90% of women in the sample pool had symptoms for more than five years; with 50% having it for more than a decade. The wait for men was shorter; 90% had less than five years of complaints," he said.

Dr Eknath Pawar, who heads the orthopaedic department of JJ Hospital, said he didn't find a major difference between the number of men and women who come for surgery. "But there is indeed a tendency among women to carry on despite back pain. This is especially true about women who stay at home," said Dr Pawar.

Men, on the other hand, have quick surgeries. "Men usually sustain spine problems due to accidents or falls at workplace.They undergo surgery on an emergency basis," he said.

There is another gender skewed statistics: Female patients are usually a decade younger than the male patients. "A few issues aggravate spine-related problems in women such as Vitamin D deficiency , deficiency of calcium due to improper diet and lack of exercise, especially after child birth, that weakens them," said Dr Peshattiwar. "The findings also showed the disparity that still exists within Indian households and where do we lack when it comes to women nourishment and health."

The experience at Qi chain of spine care clinics bears out this. "A considerable number of spinal problems are linked to pregnancy and some cases are linked to the use of epidurals at the time of delivery . Women tend to have a higher level of pain tolerance and so wait till there is a considerable lifestyle compromise," said Nithij Arena who owns the chain. "The average age of female patients is 36 years, we see a rise in number of younger patients," he added.

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