Now, a method that gives muscle to back pain treatment

PT Jyothi Datta | Updated on August 03, 2019

Nithiij Arenja, QI co-founder Shashi Ashiwal   -  Shashi Ashiwal

Check whether the pain is bone-based or muscle-based, advises QI Spine Clinic

There is a quiet cheer inside QI Spine Clinic, something you may not quite associate with a place that claims to set right your back pain.

And that’s possibly because the clinic believes in treating back pain through non-invasive techniques, grounded in “”mainstream conservative medicine” , rather than suggest going under the knife. In fact, the view increasingly gaining currency among global medical professionals is that only 5 per cent of severe back pain actually needs surgery.

But for Nithiij Arenja, QI co-founder, the clinic and what it sets out to do is personal. Having ‘peaked’ at over 150 kg over a decade ago, he has seen the trauma of living with excruciating back pain and was advised surgery.

And that’s when the ‘holy grail’ of treating back pain was revealed to him by a doctor in Germany. The problem is not with the bone, but with the muscle, the doctor revealed, and that was Nithiij’s ‘eureka moment’, he recalls. “Nobody had told me that,” he says, adding that unlike a nerve or a bone, you can build your muscle.

Nithiij studied this for two years and ventured with a professional team to develop a tech-based system along with other functional protocols to identify, isolate and strengthen the troubled area to address back pain. The approach seeks to address three questions that Nithiij as a patient used to ask doctors. Will the pain go away, would he have to do the treatment again and would it stop him from doing anything? “I am the most medically uneducated person, at the same time the most qualified person to do this, for the simple reason that I am a patient myself,” says Nithiij, disarmingly. Back pain can be pathological or functional, bone-based or muscle-based, orthopaedic in nature or due to other illnesses, he explains. And instead of looking at surgery as the first option, he says, they looked at other ways of addressing this.

So just as cardiac patients have a ‘stress test’ to assess their heart condition, Nithiij and his team devised a ‘digital spine analysis’ that identifies and isolates the problem causing the back pain, which is then addressed by trained professionals. He is quick to add that patients who are unlikely to benefit from the system and do indeed need a surgery are advised accordingly.

Obesity-related services

Having started eight years ago with co-founder and brother Anuj, QI is poised to take the venture to the US. Operating in a highly regulated country like the US will be a testimony to what they do, believes Nithiij.

Anuj, a former investment banker, says they are in the process of consolidating the company as an omni-channel offering obesity-related services.

QI blends together a strong data backbone with ‘facetime’ as patients need to physically interact with professionals to sort out their problems, says Anuj.

Nithiij says the core is to keep the venture patient-centric and ethical.

To reinforce that thought, he reveals plans for another upcoming service involving cancer rehabilitation. The aim is to keep “payment optional”, he says, where those who can afford it will pay and even extend to paying for another who cannot afford it.

Published on August 03, 2019

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