Pain in neck, back: Kids deal with adult orthopaedic problems

Express News Service

BENGALURU: While orthopaedic issues are common among adults, doctors are noticing a new trend with children in the age group of 9-14 years complaining of orthopaedic problems.

Doctors pointed out that there is easily a 50 per cent increase in paediatric orthopaedic issues like pain in the neck, shoulder, upper back and limbs. The reason is lack of activity and improper posture while attending online classes. 

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In one case, a 14-year-old boy had severe back pain and consulted a doctor at Fortis Hospitals, Rajajinagar. The doctor prescribed painkillers, and when the pain persisted, he was advised physiotherapy. After 30 days of physiotherapy, his condition improved and he was asked to take up indoor games to stay active, and prescribed calcium and Vitamin D tablets for three months.

Dr Vinay Kumaraswamy, Consultant – Orthopedics & Joint Replacement Surgery, Fortis Hospitals, who treated the patient, said, “I have never come across children coming in with back pain or neck pain. Usually such complaints are among adults, often software engineers who work long hours. Now cases are increasing in the paediatric age group, as due to the pandemic, there is lack of activity among children. The body does not get Vitamin D as they are unable to go out and play under the sun. Many sit on the floor to attend online classes, instead a table and chair will correct their posture. The use of mobile phones strains their necks and eyes.”

Dr Jayanth S Sampath, Senior Consultant Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon, Rainbow Children’s Hospital, said he has been seeing 3 to 4 children a week with neck pain, lower back pain and general body pain.

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“Due to lack of activity and exposure to sunlight, prolonged sitting for online classes, we are seeing ‘adult symptoms’ in children. Weight gain is also a significant issue due to lack of activity. We encourage children to perform stretching exercises for all lower limb joints, avoid sitting for more than an hour at a time, restrict use of portable electronic devices, correct Vitamin D deficiency, and take up whatever physical activities are possible in this situation,” he said.

Dr Prashanth Inna, Consultant – Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgery, Manipal Hospitals, Old Airport Road, said children’s agility has also come down. “Earlier, children would come in with minor injuries, but now with agility going down, they are reporting bad injuries,” Dr Prashanth said. If children remain like this for a few more months, their condition can get chronic, doctors warn.

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