Catherine Quinn, President of the British Chiropractic Association (and chiropractor at the Waldegrave Clinic) welcomes the publication of the new research published in the Lancet today on low back pain which suggests that in the West we are over medicalising low back pain.
With the global burden of low back pain forecast to increase in coming decades, ensuring that there are options available for patients who are experiencing this is paramount.
Chiropractors provide the safe and effective hands on care which has been suggested within the first steps for the treatment of low back pain.
This involves a package of care including education and advice to stay active, such as the Straighten Up UK exercises available for free from the BCA, spinal manipulation, massage and exercise therapy.
Chiropractors are well positioned to provide this care.
This series comes at an important time. With the recent attention given to the use of opioid prescriptions for non-cancer pain becoming a complex public health crisis, chiropractors are able to provide non-pharmaceutical care options in the management of back pain, neck pain and other joint and muscle problems for which opioids are often prescribed.
This paper recognises the use of medication in limited circumstances but also advises caution.
It is great that the Lancet has produced such an important series of papers and we are proud to see two of chiropractic’s leading researchers Jan Hartvigsen and Alice Kongsted as contributing authors.
The British Chiropractic Association has 5 top tips to help those of you experiencing low back pain:
1: Take a break
When sitting for long periods of time, ensure you stand up and move around every 30 minutes.
When at work, also make sure your desk is set up to support a comfortable position. This is different for everyone so if you don’t feel comfortable in your current set up, try altering the height of your chair or screen.
2: Keep on moving
Physical activity can be beneficial for managing back pain, however it’s important that if this is of a moderate to high intensity that you warm up and down properly to get your body ready to move!
If a previous injury is causing you pain, adapt your exercise or seek some advice. Activities such as swimming, walking or yoga can be less demanding on your body while keeping you mobile!
Other things which you can bear in mind are:
3: Lifting and carrying
- Remember to bend from the knees, not the waist when lifting heavy items.
- Face in the direction of movement, and take your time.
- Hold the object as close to your body as possible, and where you can avoid carrying objects which are too heavy to manage alone, ask for help or use the necessary equipment.
4: Sleep comfortably
The Sleep Council recommends buying a new mattress at least every 7 years. Mattresses lose their support over time, so if you can feel the springs through your mattress, or the mattress is no longer level, your mattress is no longer providing the support you need.
Everyone has different support requirements, so when purchasing your mattress ensure it is supportive for you.
If you share a bed and require different mattress types, consider two single mattresses which are designed to be joined together, to ensure you both get the support you need.
5: Straighten Up!
The BCA has created a programme of 3-minute exercises, Straighten Up UK, which can be slotted in to your daily schedule to help prevent back pain by promoting movement, balance, strength and flexibility in the spine
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