A talk with Dr Mohammad Mashfiqul Arafin Siddiqui

December 11, 2019

Welcome to Bangladesh. Tell us something about your visit to Bangladesh this time.

I was born in Dhaka but brought up in Singapore when my family migrated there. It’s always nice to come back. I have been coming back here at least once a year for quite a number of years. The people are always welcoming and I love the food.

As a specialist dealing with back pain, what is the most common diagnosis for people who have back pain? What is the treatment for that?

It depends on the age group. For young patients, often it is a back strain which is muscular. Sometimes of course they can get pain from a slipped disc or a tear in the disc. For elderly people, it is often pain from arthritic changes in the spine from old age. You might have heard of the term lumbar spondylosis, which is referring to the degenerative changes in the spine.

First line treatment for back pain from these causes is usually medications, a short period of rest if required, physiotherapy, activity modification and sometimes a lumbar corset. This works very well for most people.

In the third world countries, especially the one like Bangladesh, what are the issues that are more common?

The causes of back pain are generally not too different from other countries. The only additional causes of back pain for Bangladesh and other developing countries would be spinal infection caused by TB. In Singapore, we hardly ever see them and those we see are usually imported from other countries. In Bangladesh it is more common. However, the overall incidence of spinal TB would still be very low when compared to other causes of back pain.

When should people seek professional help?
If the back pain is not getting better in a few weeks, it is better to seek professional help. This is because sometimes the back pain is not just a simple degenerative problems or a disc tear but can be a spinal tumour or a spinal infection. In the elderly, they can even have a spinal fracture without a fall if they are osteoporotic.

This article is published in the Daily Observer https://www.observerbd.com/details.php?id=169692