New research has found that 34% of people in London have been prevented from exercising due to back or neck pain, and an unfortunate 28% felt it was exercise itself which triggered their pain.
The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) and the Waldegrave Clinic are urging more people to be aware of the benefits of exercise for improving their back health this World Spine Day.
This year, the World Spine Day – held annually on October 16th – when people worldwide join together to raise awareness about spinal disorders, the theme is “Your Back In Action”.
This is to highlight the importance of physical activity and improving posture as part of good spinal health and prevention of injury.
BCA chiropractor Catherine Quinn who practices at the Waldegrave Clinic and specialises in treating sport related back pain, comments: “We really want as many people as possible to get out there and enjoy sports. Moderate exercise is essential to build and maintain strength and flexibility, improving posture and protecting you from any further pain.
“The spine is naturally strong and stable so it’s worrying to find that so many people are being prevented from staying active due to back pain. While total rest may seem like a good way to recover, often continuing moderate physical activity will help in the long run. Your local chiropractor will be able to advise on what is right for you.”
To help people of all ages and fitness levels back pain-proof their work-out routines this World Spine Day, the BCA has developed these top tips:
Know your equipment:
When trying a new activity, it’s always best to make sure you ask your instructor how your equipment should be set up, and make sure it’s right for you.
For example, if you’re cycling or spinning, you need to set your saddle and handlebar to the correct height so that you are in a comfortable position that isn’t putting tension on your neck or back.
Know your limits:
Even professional athletes aren’t born ready, it takes time to build the intensity of your practice. If you try a new sport, or want to intensify your workout, it’s important to take a slow approach and not to push your body’s limits.
It is always advisable to visit a professional who can assess your body’s capabilities and advise on a safe way of training based on your body’s limitations
Warm up and cool down:
Before starting any form of physical activity, you should warm up any muscle groups which might be affected whilst you exercise.
If you use them without preparing them first, it could cause you pain and injury which could have been prevented
Reduce the impact:
If a previous injury is causing you pain, adapt your exercise to reduce the impact on your joints and muscles. Activities such as swimming, walking or yoga can be less demanding on your body keeping your joints mobile!
Not all exercise is the same:
The fittest of athletes will still find it difficult to adapt to a new sport, as each sport uses some muscle groups more than others.
With this in mind, always approach a new activity with care and don’t assume that you can jump in at the deep end!
The Waldegrave Clinic recommends that, if you are experiencing pain for more than a few days then you seek professional help, as an undiagnosed problem could lead to longer-term problems if left untreated.
3 Minute Exercises to try
The BCA has also created a programme of 3-minute exercises, Straighten Up UK, which can be slotted in to your daily schedule to help improve posture and prevent back pain by promoting balance, strength and flexibility in the spine.