Rural Health


Beyond Pain: Understanding the Harsh Reality of Spinal Issues in Poverty

Back pain ranks among the three reasons for medical consultations worldwide. Millions of Indians face spinal problems. The far-reaching consequences of these spinal ailments extend well beyond the individual patient. Spine problems have a ripple effect, profoundly impacting the lives of entire families and communities in rural areas. However, what makes this issue even more challenging is the lack of healthcare accessibility in rural areas, where 70% of our population resides.

Rural realities like lack of healthcare facilities, affordable spine care, doctors and more are amplifying the burden of spine issues on the under served. This stark rural-urban divide in healthcare access exacerbates the challenges faced by rural residents with spine problems.

In 2003, in Gadchiroli, The Spine Foundation found its purpose and took its first step towards reshaping the future of rural spinal health. This remote corner of rural India marked the inception of the spine foundation’s remarkable journey rural healthcare. It is the birthplace of a vision, born from the enduring spirit of its resilient people and a commitment to change the trajectory of spinal health for those who remain forgotten by the world. 

It was in Gadchiroli that Dr. Shekhar Bhojraj realised the profound impact of poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition and strenuous manual labour. The rural communities frequently voiced their struggles with debilitating backaches. The spine foundation started it rural health care programs, to reach out to more areas like Gadchiroli and serve the under served who deserved the care.


The Spine Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that every individual, regardless of their socioeconomic status or geographic location, has access to quality spine care. In pursuit of this mission, we organise weekly camps in various rural areas, strategically targeting communities where access to primary healthcare is scarce or non-existent. These camps serve as a beacon of hope for the poorest patients who often lack the means to travel to urban centres for specialised medical treatment. By bringing together a team of top doctors and surgeons, our camps offer a lifeline to individuals suffering from spinal ailments in remote regions.

Our approach to comprehensive spine care begins with meticulous patient identification. We understand that many individuals in these underserved communities may be living with undiagnosed spinal conditions due to limited access to healthcare. Therefore, our dedicated team works tirelessly to reach out to as many potential patients as possible, ensuring that no one is left behind.

Once patients are identified, our team conducts thorough evaluations to assess their condition and develop personalised treatment plans. This process encompasses a holistic approach, addressing not only the physical symptoms but also the psychosocial aspects of the patient’s well-being. In cases where medical intervention is deemed necessary, our camps offer access to a range of treatment options, including medications and surgeries. Our experienced surgeons perform procedures with precision and compassion, ensuring the best possible outcomes for our patients.

Through our unwavering dedication and collaborative efforts, we strive to make a meaningful difference in the lives of spine patients living in underserved rural areas. By providing comprehensive care that addresses every aspect of the patient’s journey, we aim to restore hope and dignity to those in need.



The Spine Foundation is deeply committed to bridging the gap in healthcare access for impoverished patients residing in the remote regions of India. In line with this mission, we have undertaken the establishment of Rural Spine Care Centres (RSCCs) at the grassroots level. These centres serve as beacons of hope, extending specialised spine care services to those who have long been underserved due to geographical barriers and economic constraints.

Central to our approach is the empowerment of Voluntary Health Workers (VHWs) and Community Health Workers (CHWs). These dedicated individuals serve as the backbone of our outreach efforts, operating within the heart of the communities they serve.

Through comprehensive training programs, they are equipped not only to identify severe cases of spinal ailments but also to administer essential remedies and rehabilitation measures. The training provided to VHWs and CHWs goes beyond mere technical knowledge. It encompasses a deep understanding of community dynamics, cultural sensitivities, and the socio-economic challenges faced by the local population. By empowering these frontline workers with the skills and resources they need, we aim to create sustainable healthcare solutions that resonate with the unique needs of each community. 

At the core of our long-term strategy for RSCCs is the concept of capacity building. By investing in the training and development of VHWs and CHWs, we not only enhance their ability to deliver quality care but also foster a sense of ownership and empowerment within the communities they serve. This grassroots approach ensures that healthcare interventions are not just imposed from the outside but are rooted in local knowledge and expertise. Through the establishment of RSCCs and the empowerment of VHWs and CHWs, we envision a future where even the most marginalized individuals have access to timely and effective spine care. By working hand-in-hand with local communities, we strive to create a healthcare system that is inclusive, responsive, and sustainable, ultimately improving the health and well-being of countless individuals across remote regions of India.



A considerable portion of our red-flag Outpatient Departments (OPDs) is facilitated online on a weekly basis, representing a pivotal aspect of our outreach efforts. During these virtual sessions, spine consultants affiliated with The Spine Foundation extend their expertise and invaluable opinions remotely, harnessing the power of technology to transcend geographical barriers and reach even the remotest areas. The utilisation of online platforms enables us to overcome the constraints of distance and limited access to specialised healthcare services in remote regions.

Through live video consultations, patients in these underserved areas have the opportunity to benefit from the insights and recommendations of seasoned spine specialists, without the need to travel long distances or incur additional expenses. The success of these online sessions hinges on collaborative partnerships with local hosting teams, NGOs, civil hospitals, or medical college orthopaedic departments. These partnerships serve as the foundation upon which our virtual outreach initiatives are built, facilitating seamless coordination and logistical support for the smooth execution of online OPDs.

Local hosting teams play a pivotal role in organising and coordinating the logistics of the virtual sessions, ensuring that patients are adequately informed and prepared for their consultations. Additionally, NGOs, civil hospitals, and medical college orthopaedic departments serve as crucial allies, providing the necessary infrastructure and technical support to facilitate high-quality video conferencing and connectivity. By fostering collaborative relationships with local stakeholders, we not only enhance the accessibility of specialised spine care but also strengthen the capacity of healthcare systems in remote areas. Through shared expertise and resources, we strive to empower communities and improve health outcomes for individuals living in underserved regions.



At The Spine Foundation, we recognise that access to healthcare in rural areas encompasses more than just medical treatment. We understand that rehabilitation services play a crucial role in restoring health, mobility, and overall quality of life for our rural community members who may be grappling with spinal issues. With this understanding at the forefront of our approach, we are dedicated to providing comprehensive care that extends beyond mere diagnosis and treatment. Our commitment to holistic care is exemplified through our tailored rehabilitation services, which are meticulously designed to address the unique needs of our rural population.

 Through personalised treatment plans and compassionate care, we strive to enhance the well-being of our patients and support them on their journey towards recovery. Our rehabilitation services encompass a multidisciplinary approach, drawing upon the expertise of skilled professionals in various fields. This includes physical therapists who specialise in exercises and techniques aimed at improving strength, flexibility, and range of motion. Occupational therapists are also integral to our rehabilitation team, assisting patients in regaining independence in daily activities and returning to meaningful work or leisure pursuits.

In addition to physical and occupational therapy, our rehabilitation programs incorporate pain management therapy to alleviate discomfort and enhance comfort levels. We understand that managing pain is essential for promoting mobility and facilitating the rehabilitation process, and therefore, we offer a range of interventions tailored to individual needs, including medication management, therapeutic modalities, and alternative pain management techniques.

Furthermore, we prioritise the delivery of these rehabilitation services in a manner that is accessible and culturally sensitive to our rural population. Whether through in-person sessions conducted at our Rural Spine Care Centres or through telemedicine platforms, we strive to ensure that our patients have equitable access to the care they need to thrive. In essence, our comprehensive rehabilitation services are an integral component of our commitment to providing holistic spine care to rural communities. By addressing the physical, functional, and emotional aspects of recovery, we empower our patients to reclaim their health and lead fulfilling lives despite the challenges posed by spinal ailments.



The Spine Foundation’s model for spreading spine care across rural India is a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach designed to reach the underserved communities and provide them with essential spinal care.

  • Identifying strategic locations to cater to rural population.
  • A survey is conducted to assess the specific healthcare needs of the patients in these regions.
  • A feasibility study is conducted to evaluate the practicality and viability of implementing spine care camps in these areas.
  • Awareness camps to make the local population aware of the upcoming spine care camp.
  • The establishment of a dedicated Rural Spine Care Centre is pivotal. Here, Spine Foundation doctors conduct regular Outpatient Departments (OPDs) and surgeries during the camp.
  • Local doctors interested in contributing to the cause are identified. Additionally, voluntary health workers are trained extensively in patient care, counselling, on-site diagnosis, nursing, and physiotherapy.
  • Doctors in remote areas are trained to identify and address basic spine problems, ensuring that healthcare is accessible even in the most distant regions.
  • A structured referral system, known as the 5-Filter System, is established to efficiently guide patients through various levels of care, from village health workers to specialised hospitals, ensuring appropriate treatment at each stage.

Spine Foundation doctors act as enablers, sharing their expertise and supporting local healthcare initiatives to promote spinal care throughout rural India.

Join us in our journey to make spinal health accessible everywhere. Together, we are creating a healthier, happier, and more inclusive future for our nation. Together, let's rewrite the stories of strength, resilience, and triumph.