The Pothole Story Featuring Low Back Pain and Injuries

The Pothole Story Featuring Low Back Pain and Injuries

Are you suffering from low back pain?

Low back pain is a common musculoskeletal symptom amongst the drivers and motorcycle riders. The prevalence of low back pain has an increasing impact on social, cultural and public health with an estimated annual prevalence of LBP in the general population varying from 25% to 60%. Many contextual factors lead to mechanical or structural classification of the low back pain such as age, arthritis, psychosomatic condition, incorrect ergonomics and many more out of which one of the highlighting factors causing low back pain is jerk, direct or indirect stress on the lumbar segments of the spine in motorcycle riders after hitting against a pothole. Statistics report more than 1000 new potholes every year after monsoon, with this alarming increase in the potholes and motorcycle riding being one of the major mode of transport in employees and other professionals it is a crucial matter of concern amongst the rationales.

The people entering hospital with a complain of back pain are younger than 35 years of age, which has been found due to travelling for long hours in traffic and the bumpy roads with potholes. As a large population travel through motorcycle to save their time in the cities with hustle, it is a red flag being on of the frequent reasons for the back pain in travellers or employees.


Other than incorrect driving patterns, the travellers are always at a risk of road accidents due to the bumpy nature of potholes besides this major concern rising are incidents of spinal cord injuries and other spine disorders like spinal canal stenosis, vertebral column disorders like IVDP, vertebral fracture presenting with or without neurological deficits. The irregular structure of potholes leads to pressure and jerk on the back leading to pain, the muscles surrounding the back undergoes for spasm as a protective reflex, bringing on further complications. It makes difficult for a pregnant lady to travel as it may lead to musculoskeletal or neurological problem in further.


The patient may complain of pain at the lower back with or without radiating nature of pain downward towards the leg.

He or she may complain of dull constant pain arising due to spasm in the muscles,

A sharp-shooting pain which may be due to fractures or any ligament sprains.

The following subjects may complain of pain during the various movements which might occur due to alterations in the biomechanics over time.

In case of spinal cord injuries the patient comes with neurological deficits and further complications with bowel and bladder dysfunction.



In case of pain or discomfort one must visit the doctor and find out the cause of pain, the doctor might perform various tests and certain radiology scans such as x-ray or MRI, EMG, CT- SCAN to confirm the diagnosis.


The first line of treatment is pain relief caused due to potholes which can be cured by taking non- steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or by certain physiotherapeutic modalities such as TENS, IFT, DIATHERMY.

Many exercises related to back muscles, core muscles are incorporated like static activation of muscles, bridging, cat-camel, prone extensions, superman exercises etc.

To avoid acute pain becoming a chronic structure precautions and prevention is important, regular exercise and physiotherapy helps in relieving the back pain Research shows that more than 56% of low back pain cases get resolved by physiotherapy management.

Other functional activities such as swimming, cycling eventually addition of jogging would help in maintaining the strength avoiding back pain .

Before starting to travel for the day perform certain stretching and basic exercise that activates the muscles and prevents it’s form bringing in pain.