Mumbai: Endless bumpy, potholed roads are causing back and neck injuries to two-wheeler and four-wheeler drivers. Driving long hours also affects posture, where the driver has to sit in one position for longer period of time.
Orthopaedics have said there has been an increasing in people who are facing back and knee problems. This occurs when a bike goes over a pothole; at that moment the motorist gets a sharp jerk which jolts his back. Cramps and pain occurs due to this, and in the long-run this may be an indirect factor for causing arthritis. Mumbaikars have no other option, and they do their best to avoid potholes on a daily basis. Doctors say that more and more patients have been complaining of back, knee and neck problems caused due to commuting on bad roads.
Dr Pradeep Bhosale, director, arthritis and joint replacement surgery, Nanavati Super Speciality hospital, said, “There has been an increasing in people who are facing back and knee problems. This occurs when a bike goes over a pothole; at that moment the motorist gets a sharp jerk which jolts his back. Cramps and pain occurs due to this, in the long-run thus may be an indirect factor in causing arthritis.”
Dr Bhosale added, “People who ride on two-wheelers commonly face this problem. As there is a lack of back support on these vehicles.” He added, “At times, due to the sudden impact caused by the jerk can add pressure on the knee and this can cause a crack, knees get damaged due to this. Last week, I treated a patient who had developed a crack in the knee due to a sudden jerk.”
Dr Shrirang Limaye, an orthopaedic surgeon said, “A majority of people who ride bikes face back and neck problems, though wearing a helmet is important for safety; it can put pressure on the neck which can get aggravated further due to frequent jolts from bumps caused by potholes. The spine also feels the impact of these vibrations. People who drive four-wheelers too do not escape such perils. As driving a car for extended periods of time can cause lower pain. People should regularly exercise to build strong back muscles to deal with such issues.” Dr Ameet Pispati, consultant Orthopaedic surgeon and Director of Orthopaedic Surgery at Jaslok Hospital said whilst NASA has long been talking about lay people embarking on space travel and journeys to the moon in the future, a virtual simulation of the same can be had for free by driving on Mumbai roads! These roads have gained infamous recognition over the world amongst many people in view of the disability they can potentially cause.
“Bikers are the most affected, the driver and the pillion rider as well. Car drivers and occupants are not spared either. Sudden violent jerky movements impose shock upon the discs of the spine and can lead to ‘slip disc’ which can irritate the surrounding nerves, and this can lead to crippling back and neck pain, many days of work, money spend on physiotherapy sessions, surgery at times, and a long recovery period,” added Dr Pispati.
The possible Solutions
- Citizens groups to press for better roads
- Drive slowly, keep adequate distance between vehicles, disciplined driving – prevents shock on the spine. Avoidance of sudden braking/clutch use will spare the knees.
- Bikers to always wear helmets to protect the head in case they suddenly enter a pothole and fall off. All car occupants to always be seat belted.
- Bike and car lights at night to be on dipper mode at night to focus on the road immediately ahead (also does not disturb cars coming in the opposite direction) to spot potholes.
- Neck, back and knee pain need pain relief — ice packs, rest and muscle relaxants are helpful. X rays and MRI scan are performed if needed. Once the pain settles, physiotherapy is started to regain muscle tone and mobility. Surgery may also be needed for fractures and severe slip discs.