A new approach to pain management

Kanchan (Name changed) was a brilliant student in school and college. She was the first woman to graduate

Kanchan (Name changed) was a brilliant student in school and college. She was the first woman to graduate in her family and then went on to become the first to finish post-graduation with honors. Her life was looking bright when she was hired by financial services multinational. But things took an interesting turn when in her second year of employment, she started complaining of pain in her joints. She started avoiding any stressful activity including walking and climbing stairs. Finally, things became so bad that she started feeling tired all the time. She consulted a doctor who came to the conclusion that her sedentary lifestyle and obesity had caused these symptoms. The lack of exercise in her youth and increasingly sedentary lifestyle was creating serious medical complications. Kanchan is not alone, today millions of Indians are suffering from the after-effects of lifestyle diseases.

Every country goes through a transformation when it comes to disease patterns. Way back during 1918, an outbreak of Spanish Influenza wiped out almost 5% of India’s population, which was 17 million people. At that stage, India was dealing with mostly the infectious diseases. But as we progressed, we see that today we deal more with lifestyle diseases as compared to the infectious diseases. Almost 15% of our pollution are at risk due to obesity. Three things are contributing to it

  • The rise in disposable income- The rise in disposable income is in a way helping in the integration of India into the global food chain. These mean multinational giants like KFC and McDonalds are mainstays in India. This is leading to a situation where we have more food choices available to us
  • Increase in automation- With increased technology adoption, there has been a tremendous reduction in manual labor in our lives.Sensor-driven automated lifestyle has led to a situation where we are more sedentary by nature. According to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine, almost 14.4 Million children in India are at the risk of obesity due to sedentary lifestyles. As more children resort to technology driven computer games as opposed to participating in physical games, the risk increases
  • Finally the education system in India contributes to this problem immensely. An emphasis on rote based learning followed by excruciating competition for limited positions in prestigious institutions is making many people shun physical activity like sports. This later leads to a lifestyle condition as these children grow into adults.

Like Kanchan, one of the most common symptoms of this condition is pain in the joints and muscles. There are some parts of the body that are more affected by these symptoms. The most common forms are

  • Spine- Most of the weight and the stress of the body is being borne by the Spine. Obesity creates a situation where there is increased pressure on the spine, leading to premature wear and tear of the structure and the discs.
  • Ankle- Another joint that bears most of the load of the body. Increased weight leads to more load on the Ankle and one of the first symptoms is increased pain
  • Knee- Those who have been active in sports know the impact of physical activity on the knees. Surprisingly sedentary lifestyle leads to a weakening of the Knee joint and associated ligaments.
  • Shoulder- The Shoulder Joint is a weight bearing joint of the upper body. Its complex nature, and the coming together of the 3 bones to form the shoulder makes it a likely candidate for the pain related systems.

Ideally one should visit the doctor and take medical advice if pain does occur in one or more of these joints. Most doctors would probably advise the patients to go in for physiotherapy for pain relief. Recently VLCC launched a new therapeutic pain management program. The program is staffed by more than 120 physiotherapists.

What is interesting is that this is a very specialized program that helps to relieve the pain and its complication which normally happens due to obesity and sedentary lifestyle. Any pain management system should ideally consist of complete assessment that includes the present and past medical history, investigation and report, motor and sensory examination. This all will help to find the probable diagnosis and that leads to correct treatment and its management. What is good; about the VLCC Pain management System is that their methodology is based on these very key principles?

It is very essential to focus on health.  Pain management is a key component of restoring full functional health. I have often seen many people ignoring the pain and living sub-optimal functional lives. My recommendation is to consult and doctor and invest in a pain management system to restore full functionality. As always would welcome your comments, questions and suggestions.

 

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