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Back Pain: Britain’s Unseen Crisis? – A Review of ITV’s Tonight Programme

Many of you may have seen the ITV Tonight programme which aired at 7.30pm on 28th February 2019. You may have questions as to how you can implement the recommendations and what role we can have in helping you.

Some stats from the programme:

  • 10 million people in the UK are suffering with low back pain
  • 80% of the population is affected
  • 46% of people polled by the programme thought that strong pain medication is an effective treatment
  • 1 in 5 people sat for more that 9 hours a day
  • 40% of adults failed to walk briskly for 10 mins in a month
  • Children are sitting 10 hours a day

Quite shocking really.  Some other interesting facts and sound bites were:

  • Low back pain (LBP) does not have a quick fix
  • Chronic pain is an unhelpful pain as it is not related to injury or damage to tissues/structures)
  • An MRI scan ‘is not a picture of pain, it is a picture of normal ageing changes’
  • Modern day inactivity and sitting is a cause of LBP – due to sitting and inactivity the muscles of the body and spine become weaker, thus making it more difficult for us to support our upper body
  • Spines love movement, without it our muscles become weak
  • Our back is a strong and robust structure
  • Stress, anxiety, our personality, trauma etc also feed into causing LBP

In summary the whole programme was geared to saying that we need to move more.

So how can we help?

If you are in pain, have had an injury etc, we understand that you will be concerned that you may be doing more damage. This is especially the case if you are getting symptoms whilst you are moving, or after you have done some exercise or movement.

We regularly see tight muscles, incorrect mechanical movements of joints and limbs, poor posture and technique, lack of awareness of how one is using and moving the body etc that all feed into why it may be painful to move.  Hands on work to free the areas that are not working will then make moving more comfortable.

After assessing you, we tell you how your body is moving – both the good and bad.  With reassurance that there is nothing physically wrong with you – i.e. a fracture, disease process etc – we can work with you to find out what activity you would like to start doing. Working outside in nature for example will help both your physical and mental state of health. 

We appreciate that this may be out of your comfort zone, physically, psychologically and socially – we are here to help you find a way to move forward.

It was mentioned that 10,000 steps a day is a good goal to aim for and wearing an activity monitor is also a good idea.

If you recognise that stress is playing a role, then an exercise such as yoga or tai chi, where mindfulness is part of the discipline may be something for you to explore.

There is nothing that you can’t do – we are here to help you find out what you can do to move more, what you would like to do and to support you in your goals.

This article was written by Karen Robinson, formerly a Registered Osteopath.