Rise in spine-related injuries from lifestyle habits, says doc

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GEORGE TOWN: Doctors in Malaysia have observed heightened incidences of spinal problems related to the prolonged use of computers and smartphones by people of all ages, including the young.

Dr K Parameshwaran, organising chairman of the 4th International Malaysia Spine Society (MSS) Scientific Congress which opened here today, attributed unnatural and bad postures while reading or holding up an apparatus as the main reason for the problem.

“There have been increasing computer-related medical conditions related to the spine, especially in the neck and the back,” he said at a press conference following the launch of the three-day event at G Hotel here.

“This is because of prolonged hours at the computer,” he added. “Children, especially, are spending very long periods of time in bad posture.”

Parameshwaran said it was important to raise awareness about this phenomenon, and advised that prevention was crucial.

“Prevention is still the best treatment,” he said.

He said the seriousness of the problem was highlighted from the personal observations of various spine surgeons, especially over the last five years.

MSS president Dr KS Sivananthan said spine specialists have come up with studies on postures and positions that are least problematic when using phones or computers.

He said most spine patients suffered due to work or sport-related causes, or because of degenerative age-related conditions.

He said there were currently about 120 spine surgeons in Malaysia and added that the medical tourism industry in the country stood to benefit further as local surgeons were reasonably advanced.

“The price of surgery in Malaysia is about a third or a quarter of what it would cost in developed countries,” he stressed.

“Also our spine surgeons are well trained. We also send them overseas for further training.

“So I can assure you that the standard of spine treatment in this country is quite advanced and comparable to any (developed) countries,” Sivananthan said.

The Malaysia Spine Society was established in 2006 to provide continuing medical education, fellowship and unity for spine surgeons in the country.