Prolonged use of mobile phones and bad posture at workplaces are responsible for the increase in neck and back pains among young adults in Nigeria, a physiotherapist, Mr Vincent Soetan, has said.
Soetan, a consultant at Vedic Lifecare Hospital, Lagos, said the Brand Executive, Physiocrat Allied Health Services, a medical outlet that cares for patients with physical conditions, neck and back pains were becoming very common among the young working class.
“Cervical spondylosis, generally called neck pain is actually prevalent, especially among the workforce in corporate bodies such as bankers, teachers, nurses and health professionals.
“I see more people with spinal problems, especially among the working class.
“For every 10 referrals that visit the hospital, about five of them will have musculoskeletal disorders and if you probe further, it is related to work and lifestyle.
“Most times, the condition is due to very bad postures, even drivers experience a lot of neck pain. It is also very common because of the increased use of mobile phones and laptops; the posture we adopt while operating these gadgets is what affects the neck.
“Most times, people bend their necks so much for long hours while operating these gadgets. This, in the long run, leads to neck pain over time that can also lead to other problems later in life,” Soetan said.
According to him, the challenges facing the condition include reduced productivity at workplaces and people visiting quacks and getting wrong treatment due to lack of awareness.
The physiotherapist said: “Most people are not aware of what to do and so they receive very wrong treatment for the condition.
“What people do most times is to massage and use some mentholated ointment on the neck and they think it solves the problem.
“The problem only persists and causes further damage which can lead to other problematic conditions”.
The physiotherapist stressed the need to improve people’s knowledge on this from secondary to tertiary institutions.
“Postural correction should be taught in schools; children should be taught how to lift things and maintain an upright posture at an early age.
“We need to begin to include it in health education because neck pain is a non-communicable disease and one of the leading causes of disability worldwide.
He said that organisations need to put policies in place at their workplaces to help prevent neck pains and under productivity caused by disabilities in their employees.
He advised that people should begin to take their postures seriously by avoiding too much bending of the neck while operating the mobile phone and laptops.
“People should hold their phones up while trying to access it instead of bending the neck. Workers should take at least, 10 minutes twice a day during work hours to relax and do physical exercises targeted at the neck and back.
“There should be days of the week when workers specifically exercise, probably do back and neck stretches; it goes a long way to reducing fatigue and loosening up the muscles.
“People should visit the hospital when they have neck and back pain for the appropriate treatment to be carried out”.’