BACKACHES AND NECKPAIN:
 
Dr. A. Vincent Thamburaj.  
Neurosurgeon, Apollo Hospitals,  Chennai , India.

Nagging aches, with no apparent precipitating cause, are usually diagnosed as 'spondylosis' which means aging spine. A sudden change in lifestyle may be a cause. Active sports people who give up sports abruptly and those who suddenly become health conscious and take up vigorous 'gym-works' are more prone. Weight reduction and graded exercises will help. Maintenance of erect posture, using a firm mattress, going down on knees to pick-up things from the floor and using western toilets instead of Indian toilets will help.

Persisting pain must be investigated to rule out serious problems such as cancer or infection. Investigation should also be undertaken, if the backache is associated with leg or arm pain or belt like pain around the trunk which may suggest nerve involvement. Some tumors in the spinal cord also present this way and may be associated with progressive weakness and/or numbness of limbs. Women must obtain a gynecologist's assessment as well.  

 
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