An Int er v i ew wit h Dr. R as hid Haidar
We all know how back pain is a common phenomenon among AUB students, especially those who have to carry laptops with them everyday. Khaled Abdallah, a biology graduate, conducted an interview with Dr. Rashid Haidar to clear out some misconceptions and get some advice. Khaled: How does carrying a heavy bag hurt my back? Doc: Carrying a heavy bag does not cause any damage to your spine. Science has not yet found any direct link between carrying heavy bags and vertebrae damage. The reason for the pain you feel is the muscle cramping that comes from the heavy load. Khaled: Are the chairs available at AUB healthy for our backs? Doc: No they are not. Our vertebral column is not straight as we think. In fact, a frontal view of the vertebral column shows it straight; however, if we take a profile view, we notice that it has a curved shape. Look at the figure below Lordosis is a medical term used to describe an inward curvature of a portion of the vertebral column. Two segments of the vertebral column are normally lordotic. So the best chairs are those that take in consideration the lordotic segments in our vertebral column and, unfortunately, this does not apply to the plastic and wooden chairs at AUB. Khaled: If I’m carrying a bag and am faced with the choice between taking the chemistry stairs and walking up the road, which should I choose? Doc: Choosing the road is much better than using the stairs especially for those who suffer from Chondromalacia Patella (also known as CMP or Runner>s Knee).CMP is a term for a large and disparate group of medical conditions that can cause pain at the front of the knee. It is common in young adults, especially soccer players, cyclists, rowers, tennis players, ballet dancers and runners. Khaled: Some women believe that carrying their bags on mid arms is a method where they can walk with their back straight, is that good? Doc: Carrying the bag on the mid arm to walk with a straight back is a misleading belief similar to walking with a book on the head. When carrying a bag on the mid arm, there is a reflex force that makes us push our back backwards. However, when you are not carrying a bag, your back will return to its normal position. (I changed the way the question is asked) Khaled: Is it normal to have such symptoms of back pain at an early age (around 18)? Doc: Unfortunately, having back pain (mainly muscle pain) has become very frequent among adolescents because they practice many sports (like soccer, basket, and gym), but if it’s below age of 10 or 12, then it’s abnormal. Khaled: Could stress be a factor that leads to back pain? Doc: Stress is involved in many health problems. It weakens the immune system, and with a weak immunity, body weaknesses become more apparent. If we suffer from back pain, stress might increase the pain or might cause pain in other areas in the body. Khaled: What treatment options should I consider for my back pain? Doc: The best solution to treat back pain (mainly due to muscle cramps) is to practice sports. It is better to consult a physiotherapist who teaches special exercises to strengthen muscles and joints. Swimming is also an excellent exercise.
Published on Dec 24, 2009