Dr. S S Kumar
26 Jun' 16

Dr. S S Kumar

 Dr. S S Kumar is an Orthopaedic & Spine Surgeon at Astra Ortho N Spine Centre, Chennai with over 20 years of experience in the fields of spinal surgery including Spinal Deformity Correction, Minimally Invasive Surgery, Spinal Pain Management, Orthopaedic Trauma and Hand Surgery. He gives S10 Health an insight into approaching spine related problems correctly.

There is a significant rise in spine related problems today and not necessarily from trauma or accidents. What has spurred this?
The increase in spine problems in recent times could be mainly related to our increasingly sedentary lifestyles and the lack of exercise. There could also be other factors such as obesity and improper diet.
There are also other conditions which are termed as Idiopathic Spine Problems and the exact cause of these problems are unknown, but we do have many hypotheses and theories as to why these problems occur. One such problem causes Idiopathic Scoliosis (spinal deformity) in adolescent children and one of the reasons could be due to the early onset of the growth spurt in children. In comparison to a decade ago, children are now growing faster. As their bodies are developing sooner, it could lead to this form of scoliosis.
In older patients we are noticing an increased incidence of degenerative (wear and tear related) spinal problems. The reason here is that though people are living longer thanks to modern medicine, they aren’t necessarily living better or healthier. One other factor that also leads to spine problems is related to posture; especially in patients aged between 25-40 years, as many of them have jobs which force them to be confined to a desk for major parts of the day. 
The focus here is on creating awareness and I would like to emphasize that the majority of spinal issues can be treated non-surgically, by early consultation and appropriate early non-surgical treatment. A specialist spine doctor should be able to make you feel comfortable and people should not assume that their problem is automatically serious and leads to surgical treatment. 
How does the consultation process work at Astra?
At Astra, we view the health seekers’ concern from all aspects, with a team of specialists, to give an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. A thorough examination of the patient will help us  see the most minor to major issues. Peoples’ attitudes towards medical approaches are far better today and this further motivates us to be very comprehensive in our analysis, diagnosis and treatment of problems.
What would you like health seekers to know about back or spine issues? 
From the very first meeting with the patients we give them clear explanations to ensure that they  have no irrational fears about spine conditions. Awareness in general has increased but there are many people who wait for a long time with their pains before approaching us for a consultation. I want health seekers to know that a vast majority of their spine related problems can be treated without surgery. Only if the problem is very severe do we resort to surgery as the final option.  Several factors including a balanced diet, exercises and fitness routines are some small but significant changes that will help you. At Astra, we have a team of physiotherapists guided by the specialist doctors to instruct spinal exercises for patients. 
Can you elaborate on this?
There are very specific, prescribed exercises that we give patients to perform with the guidance of a physiotherapist. Most of the exercises are based on some forms of yoga, and they involve stretching, strengthening etc. This is a very effective non-operative treatment that is carried out here. 
What are the signs to watch out for in terms of spine health?
Any feeling of sudden weakness in the arms and legs, incontinence, numbness, loss of balance, electric shock like sensations or pain in the spine region and severe unrelenting pain that forces you to constantly take painkillers. My advice is - do not delay consulting your spine specialist doctor. 
There is a solution to your problem and you can be helped.  I would like to stress on the point-  
“Early diagnosis leads on to better outcomes.”


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