Rumble strips taking a toll of commuter's backs

Hyderabad: The debate around the pros and cons of rumble strips has been intensifying over the past week, with even medical professionals talking about the profound impact on commuters' necks and backs, even as physiotherapy cases are on the rise.

The rumbles remain in place though the previous state government had ordered their removal.

Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Manoj Kumar Gudluru said that there has been a rise in motorists, especially delivery executives and auto-rickshaw drivers, turning up with complaints about neck, back, and even muscle spasms in the legs and arms.

"When the body is on rumblers, discs in the spine act as shock absorbers. When the impact is more, the shock passes it on to the next disc. If this becomes an everyday feature, people suffer from 'intervertebral disc prolapse. There are also cases of milder nerve pinching as the leg and arms bear the brunt of the impact," he told Deccan Chronicle.

It is not an uncommon sight anymore to find commuters riding with lower back belts and neck belts in order to keep their posture in check. These rumble strips are particularly dangerous for elderly commuters and pregnant women, Dr. Gudluru added.

Ayesha Hussain, a physiotherapist, said that there have been increasing cases of younger people complaining of stiff neck and back.

"When their vehicles run over the rumblers on the road, the muscles, as a means of protective reflex, tighten in the body, leading to severe pain. Such patients are prescribed physiotherapy to relax and loosen those muscles," she said.

Another physiotherapist, Shashank.M said that he had witnessed a notable increase in patients attributing musculoskeletal discomfort to the impact of rumble strips.

"Repetitive vibrations can lead to issues like lower back pain and strain on the neck and spine," he said.

A road safety activist and victim of such rumble strips, Nirav Bandla, said that "strips have changed from a decent slope design to more curvature, which forces slowing down rather than just warn them, which is against the Indian road congress guidelines.”

"It is very unfortunate that the government talks about road safety but doesn't care about our health. If a citizens' movement is required and we have to sit at a junction holding placards to bring attention to the cause, then so be it," said Kiran Goli, founder of, a website dedicated to road safety.

Another activist said that people could soon find themselves filing a PIL against the local municipality for negligence and apathy or filing a separate suit for compensation.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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