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25 Jun 2022, Edition - 2538, Saturday

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Columns

From crepe bandage to healthy bondage

Uma Ram

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I suffered a fracture and severe muscle rupture in my left foot in the year 2000. Post treatment and after the recovery period too I was able to give classical dance performances. But then in 2009, I started developing mild pain in the same area and with each passing day the pain worsened.

Several orthopaedicians whom I visited in the various places (wherever we were transferred), referred to X-rays and scans that turned up with only negative results. I was prescribed heavy dosages of steroid painkillers and calcium supplements. An orthopaedician even suggested surgery as the only option. He prescribed a customised footwear, for the time being, as he cooked up a story that I had flat foot.

It was on the very next day after wearing the footwear I felt excruciating pain and rushed to the hospital. But to my surprise one of the senior staff members there suggested that I consult some other doctor, warning me that the current one never cured his patients but performed only surgery to those with even mild problems. I left the place with no further delay.

Few orthopaedicians gave internal and external medicines combined with crepe bandages and binders for my ankle and a cervical collar for my neck pain that had developed due to the imbalanced walk patterns. It was at this point that I visited this doctor couple at PSG Hospitals, Coimbatore – Dr. Tolstoy and Dr. Poornima Tolstoy.

After patiently listening to me, they diagnosed that I was suffering from Vitamin D deficiency. I was prescribed Vitamin D supplements and was asked to get exposed to sunlight everyday as mere supplements won’t suffice.

According to them, more than three-fourths of the population are deficit of this golden vitamin, which is essential for absorbing calcium into the body. Without Vitamin D the calcium either gets deposited as calcaneal spurs causing friction in-between bones leading to pains and long term complications or get flushed out along with waste, leaving back the person deficit of calcium. The net result being weak bones, leading to osteoporosis and multiple fractures, tooth problems, bone erosions irrespective of gender. The doctors added that use of sun screen and sun block lotions, sunblock gloves, veils travelling inside AC vehicles and spending most of the time indoors in AC rooms add to the increasing deficiency of the vitamin.

Within a few days, I started recovering. The doctor couple, I would say, do not give life jackets to their patients but teach them swimming! All they suggested was taking Vitamin D supplements initially, with ample exposure to sunlight combined with walking or any other properly guided workouts to strengthen the bones.

Next time when you get joint pains or fractures, please don’t resort to self medication – by taking pain killers or calcium supplements. Ironically both do not lessen the ailments. My doctors’ words are still lingering in my ears. Never take calcium supplements until diagnosed with any deficiency as they only get either deposited as spurs worsening the problems or get flushed out. When you approach your physician for your joint pains, bone or dental problems don’t forget to insist to check your Vitamin D levels. You just cannot afford to be a guinea pig.

It was this long term suffering that inspired me to write my very first write-up on ‘Solar Vitamin Power’ as I didn’t want anyone else to fall prey to all the tough experiments I was subjected to.

Nature is the best teacher. Our ancestors had a healthy long life as they started their day with Surya Namaskar, that not only provided them with ample Vitamin D but strengthened their entire body and immunity. Remember what ever our forefathers said and did had a strong meaning behind them. Follow them as Gurus instead of making fun of their habits as mere ‘superstitions’.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are the author’s own.

(The author of the column is Uma Ram, freelance writer from Coimbatore)

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