Top tips on how to avoid gardening back pain


London: Eight out of ten people in the UK suffer from back pain* and more than half put their aches and pains down to gardening**, according to experts.

And those who suddenly take up gardening as a way of getting exercise*** are most at risk. So the specialist back advice website, is offering practical advice and tips on ways to garden your way to better health without letting your back take the strain.

Whether mowing the lawn, planting a flower border or painting the fence, gardening de-stresses the mind and provides a great workout for the whole body to boost all round wellbeing. Gardening can even rival jogging or aerobics as a full-body fitness booster. It works a number of different muscle groups, burns calories – up to 318kcals an hour**** – and incorporates other important elements of accepted exercise regimes, such as stretching, repetition and even resistance training.

But itÂ’s important to remember that gardening can be just as challenging as any other exercise and unless steps are taken to protect the body, different muscles and joints can be put under strain. To help Britons protect their backs, has some new handy health commandments that everyone should consider before reaching for the rake:

o Prepare the body – just as you would with any exercise, put a little time aside before and after each gardening session to warm up and cool down. Decide on a regime and make it a habit every time you garden. Lay on your back on the floor with your legs crossed and pull the knees towards the chest with the arms to give the lower back a good stretch

o Keep pace – while the satisfaction of seeing the garden looking pristine may motivate you to spend entire days digging and planting, it’s important not to overdo it. Divide work into manageable loads and spread this over a few days, and remember to take regular breaks – use the time to re-hydrate with sips of water as this too can help stave off back pain!

o Variety is the spice of life – each time you garden, consider rotating tasks so you work the whole body without putting too much strain on one set of muscles. Try five minutes of mowing and then five minutes of weeding

o Ease the strain – change your position regularly to take the pressure off your back. Prolonged activities where your back is bent can weaken the muscles and leave them susceptible to injury – use a mixture of positions such as sitting, crouching, kneeling and standing

o Recovery time – a nice hot bath at the end of the day, can be incredibly relaxing for the muscles (particularly if your back has been exposed to the cold)

A good nightÂ’s sleep on a mattress offering full support for the back is also a must. TEMPUR Mattresses offer the body full support, keeping the spine aligned in the anatomically correct position and relieving pressure off of tired muscles and joints

o Heave ho – ensuring you lift correctly – and only as much as you can handle – is key to protecting your back in the garden. If you are lifting something heavy, keep your back straight, bend from your knees and use your legs (never your back!)

Bending from the knees is also an important tip when digging – remember to work the legs more than the back and bending forward from the hips not the waist to keep the back straight is home to a host of practical advice to help individuals manage back pain on a day-to-day basis, whether at home, work or play. The site offers a wealth of information on the causes of back pain, as well as conventional and alternative treatments, preventative measures and exercises to help ease the pain. Osteopath Geoffrey Montague-Smith is available to provide professional guidance and answer any tricky questions you have about your own back pain.

Visit the site at . For more information about TEMPUR products, visit


Notes to editors:
1. ‘Back on Track’ Guide
o A free consumer advice, ‘Back on Track’, to help those with back pain to combat the symptoms is available by calling: 08000 111081 or emailing:

2. About TEMPUR

o TEMPUR Products conform to and support the individual user by evenly distributing body weight

o The basis for the TEMPUR pressure relieving material was originally developed by NASA to protect astronauts against G Forces during lift off and re-entry to the earth’s atmosphere. Today TEMPUR is the only producer of mattresses and pillows worldwide to be endorsed by NASA and certified by the Space Foundation

o TEMPUR has more than 70,000 medical customers including hospitals, physiotherapists, and medical practitioners

o A trial at the Institution for Clinical & Physiological Research at the Lillhagen Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden tested 23,000 patients over an eight year period of home and clinical use of the TEMPUR Mattress and Pillow. Patients suffered less pain, experienced enhanced deep sleep, and an 83% reduction in tossing and turning when using TEMPUR Products

o A whole host of celebrities are now claiming they have found the perfect sleeping partner – their TEMPUR Mattress including George Michael, Jane Seymour, Paris Hilton, The England Rugby Team, Paul McCartney, David Blaine, The Ozbournes, Kyran Bracken, Claire Sweeney, Charlie Dimmock, Susan Hampshire and Noel Gallagher

o TEMPUR Mattress prices start from ÂŁ675, and TEMPUR Pillows are priced from ÂŁ74.95. For more information about TEMPUR Products, call 08000 111081 or visit

Free book with tips to counter backpain from the experts at Tempur


Back pain is an increasingly common problem that affects almost 80% of the population at some time in their lives and costs the NHS around ÂŁ480m a year, making it the number two reason for long-term absence from work in the UK.

In response to the growing number of people now suffering from back pain, TEMPUR, the leading manufacturer of pressure relieving mattresses and pillows – in association with BackCare, the charity for healthier backs – have launched a self-help guide and a new website to provide back pain advice, and practical tips to provide sufferers with relief from back pain.

The new guide – ‘Back on TrackÂ’ – addresses the causes of back pain, from medical conditions to lifestyle habits, and the different types of pain. Did you know that stress, your mattress, obesity and even smoking can all trigger or aggravate back pain?

The guide includes details of both conventional and alternative back pain treatmentsand how they work, as well as highlighting preventative measures that can help to reduce the risks of a recurring problem – or even stop people suffering with a back complaint in the first place.

As well as identifying good practice in the work place, the guide includes some simple back exercises that sufferers can try at home, as well as providing practical advice to help individuals manage their condition on a day-to-day basis. Handy tips include how to protect the back in the home and workplace, including posture advice and information about choosing a suitable mattress.

The new website – – provides extended, in-depth information and expert back advice from osteopath Geoffrey Montgomery-Smith. It also allows visitors to air their opinions on current back pain topics through regular polls.

BackCare chief executive Nia Taylor commented: “Back pain is one of the most common health conditions in the UK, with 4 out of 5 of us experiencing it at some point in our lifetime. As well as inflicting misery on the lives of those it affects, it is also a key factor for workplace absence making it even more important that reliable help and advice is widely available.”

TEMPUR’s Jacqui Stefanov added: “Back pain really is a 21st Century epidemic, with back pain sufferers accounting for around 80 per cent of TEMPUR customers. TEMPUR is delighted to have joined forces with BackCare to develop this handy guide, which we are sure will help individuals identify and overcome symptoms, as well as helping to prevent problems in the future.”

For FREE copies of ‘Back on Track’, or for more information about TEMPUR Products, telephone 08000 111081,email or visit


TEMPUR® Mattresses are made from unique TEMPUR Material, a proprietary, open celled, temperature sensitive material that conforms to and supports the individual user by evenly distributing body weight. The basis for the TEMPUR pressure relieving material was originally developed by NASA to protect astronauts against G Forces during lift off and re-entry to the earth’s atmosphere. Today TEMPUR is the only producer of mattresses and pillows worldwide to be endorsed by NASA and certified by the Space Foundation.

On conventional mattresses the body needs to adjust during the night. This is due to unrelieved pressure, which restricts blood flow and results in the build up of pressure, causing pain and forcing the body to reposition.
TEMPUR Mattresses, on the other hand, mould to the exact shape and position of the body giving the neck, back, shoulders and feet the comfort and support they need. Pressure is evenly distributed thus reducing pressure points and practically eliminating the need for tossing and turning.

TEMPUR Products are recommended by over 30,000 medical professionals worldwide, and their beneficial properties are supported by clinical research. A trial at the Institution for Clinical & Physiological Research at the Lillhagen Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden tested 23,000 patients over an eight year period of home and clinical use of the TEMPUR Mattress and Pillow. Patients suffered less pain, experienced enhanced deep sleep, and an 83% reduction in tossing and turning when using TEMPUR Products.

A whole host of celebrities are now claiming they have found the perfect sleeping partner – their TEMPUR Mattress including George Michael, Jane Seymour, Paris Hilton, The England Rugby Team, Paul McCartney, David Blaine, The Ozbournes, Kyran Bracken, Claire Sweeney, Charlie Dimmock, Susan Hampshire and Noel Gallagher.

TEMPUR Mattress prices start from ÂŁ675, and TEMPUR Pillows are priced from ÂŁ69.95.

For more information about TEMPUR Products, call 08000 111081 or visit

About BackCare

BackCare is a national charity which works to ensure that people are well educated and informed about the issues surrounding back pain. BackCare has achieved significant successes in the key areas of research, information, education and the development of support services for people living with back pain and has HRH the Prince of Wales as patron. Tel in the UK 0845 130 2704.

Get free back health information from the experts


London: How Healthy Is Your Back After National BackCare Awareness Week?

At the end of National BackCare Awareness Week, the Osteopaths at Posture Dynamics have reiterated the importance of keeping your back in tip-top shape the whole year through and highlighted how easy it is to keep your back healthy with just a few changes to your daily routine.

If you missed out on attending any of the nationwide seminars and events held as part of National BackCare Week, Daren Fletcher, the founder of Posture Dynamics recommends a quick refresher course in some of the basics of modern health. “It’s all too easy to get caught up in busy daily lives and forget that we need to make time to ensure our joints and muscles remain supple and active.”

“National BackCare Week was a timely reminder that staying active and exercising regularly plays a significant part in the prevention and management of back pain.”

Integrating the services of Osteopathy, Cranial Osteopathy, Physiotherapy, Acupuncture, Sports Massage and Pilates, Posture Dynamics have been keeping LondonÂ’s backs healthy for over a decade.

In order to prevent back pain and manage any existing pains, National BackCare Week drew attention to the huge range of exercise classes and disciplines now widely accessible in the UK.

“Lessons in arts such as Pilates and Yoga may have age-old roots but they can help to treat a very modern problem,” adds Fletcher. “These disciplines of stretching and strengthening exercises help to condition the body’s “core” and are particularly recommended for those who do have problems with sore and aching backs.”

The BackCare Charity for healthier backs also recommended making small changes to the daily office routine. At Posture Dynamics, the osteopaths regularly treat office workers in Kensington, Ealing and Victoria who experience pain and soreness due to the many hours spent at a desk or computer. Embracing the BackCare principle of making small changes, Posture Dynamics advise that even a small non-disruptive action such as standing up while talking on the phone or taking a short walk around the office every hour can relieve tension and make a noticeable difference to overall wellbeing.

For more information about keeping your back healthy, visit

Laugh your way through back pain, say experts


London: More than eight out of ten Brits have back problems, according to a new survey from the British Osteopathic Association.

The survey, released to coincide with BackCare Awareness Week (8-12 October) and the Back Show (London Olympia 6-7 October) reveals that 83% of all British adults suffer from some form of backache intheir lifetimes, yet despite our underlying fears about its seriousness, we often choose to ignore it.

The causes of these largely debilitating pains are simpler than we may realise. Surprisingly, in 85% of cases, the trigger for the discomfort is everyday, regular activity such as sitting down, driving or shopping. Other causes identified include: carrying children, sex and period pains but in some cases, the catalyst is often unknown.

It also appears to be a common misconception that the rougher and heavier
the activity, the more pain-prone our backs become. Whilst care should be taken to protect the back at all times, the results of the BOA’s investigation suggests that you are eight times more likely to put your back out when walking or running than playing rugby.

Most suffer in silence, with over 61% of all questioned adults either taking a
painkiller to ease the ache, or ignoring it or taking no action at all. Worryingly, only 8.7% of sufferers seek professional help and this, according to Danny Williams, Osteopath and BOA Council member, can be catastrophic.

“If nothing is done, problem areas could lead to osteoarthritis or a weakened area being more prone to future pain. This, in turn, will inevitably be more intense and require longer periods ofrehabilitation,” he says.

However, there are things that we can do in order to help prevent back

• Laughing is one of the best preventative forms of action that we can take. Stress fostered by a modern working environment can lead to the clenching of muscles and tension in the back area. Laughing provides a fantastic antidote to this as it is a great relaxant that promotes apositive, pain free attitude.

• Drinking water also helps as it keeps muscles supple and hydrated.

• Bedtime habits are also something to consider. According to Danny, mattresses should ideally be changed every 5-10 years, depending on their quality. When you lie on your bed and roll into the middle, you know it’s
all over!

Danny warns that popping a pill or turning a blind eye is not only counter-productive, but means that the individual experiences unnecessary suffering: ‘If people try to soldier on, the pain won’t go away. More often than not, with simple mechanical movements, an osteopath can relieve compression and pain with a few treatments, if that.’

He also spoke of a patient whose life had been marred for a five year period due to chronic back pain which was significantly reduced within a matter of visits. ‘In many cases, one treatment can be enough, but if the pain is more serious, such as disc problems, then rehabilitation may take longer.’ Danny adds that whatever the problem an osteopath will prescribe an appropriate course of treatment. ‘An osteopath will tailor exercises and stretches to each patient: what may work for one person might not for another. We can also help manage pain and not just provide a quick fix.’

But the main way our backs stay healthy is through movement. Muscles need oxygen to retain their flexibility. As Danny points out, ‘These days, the pressure of work has become one of the main causes of back pain due to the increased hours that people stay sat at their desk. When muscles stay in the same position for a length of time, they become fatigued, start to lack oxygen and ultimately cause ischemic muscle pain.Â’ The best thing to do in the office environment is to take ‘movement breaksÂ’ – just getting up to go to the toilet or flicking the kettle on can help. As Danny adds: “Movement is life – why be a stagnant pond when you can be a flowing river?”

Osteopaths will be on hand at The Back Show (Stands 6), London Olympia, from 6-7 October to answer your back pain or osteopathic related questions.

The research was carried out amongst a nationally representative sample of 2,246 UK adults aged 16+between 14 August and 5 September this year.

About the British Osteopathic Association

The British Osteopathic Association is the professional association for osteopaths in the UK, acting as an independent representative body whilst promoting the highest standards of osteopathic education and research. Established in 1998 the BOA is committed to supporting, protecting and caring for its members and promoting opportunities for individual and professional development in osteopathic practice. For more information andto search for an osteopath, visit the website:

How to get a healthy back – tips from the osteopath experts

The way you walk, sit or sleep effects posture and can constitute to a number of serious, long-term health issues. Leading London-based osteopaths, Posture Dynamics explain the rules to consider for good posture.

Slouching is both unattractive and unhealthy and can result in a number of common complaints such as neck and shoulder pain and lower back pain. Advising on the features for maintaining good posture, Osteopathic professional of Posture Dynamics, Darren Fletcher states, “some of the most common complaints occur as a result of bad posture. It is fundamental to be aware of this fact whether you are walking, running, sitting or sleeping.- insert quote.”

Posture Dynamics advice on a healthy back posture:

The “S” Shape: Strengthen your spine into its natural balanced “S” shape position by adjusting your chair: The hip joint should be slightly higher than the knee joint.
Desk duties: Forearms should be parallel to the floor.
When seated at a computer, ensure that the screen is positioned at arms length and the top of the screen is 2-3 inches above eye-level.

The mouse should fit comfortably in your hand. To avoid quick repetitive movements, try to cut down on mouse usage by using keyboard shortcuts.
Space: Arrange the desk layout to allow ease of movement – if space is limited, tidy your desk!

Telephone: Place in an easy to reach zone by the keyboard. Consider a “headset” if you are on the phone for 40% of the time or more.
Take regular breaks: One of the most frequent pieces of advice you will hear, and also one of the most difficult pieces of advice to follow. Try to take a 5-minute break every 20-30 minutes.
Eat well and exercise: Lack of cardiovascular exercise not only affects our general wellbeing/health, but also affects our posture.

Health management issues and prevention of future ailments is a dominant feature of the service offered by Posture Dynamics. Understanding your body and the effects of posture is one of the most important elements to a long-term healthy future. For further details and tips on how to stay healthy and prevent future osteopathic complaints, please visit:

Acupuncture helps back pain, two reports confirm

York:Acupuncture relieves low back pain and is cost-effective, according to two new studies carried out in the UK.

In the UK, an estimated 16% of the adult population consult their general practitioner for help with back pain in a 12-month period. The annual cost of lower back pain to the NHS has been estimated at £480 million (€703million; $901million) and the burden of lower back pain is estimated at over £10 billion per year in terms of lost productivity and sickness benefits. The full reports can be viewed at

Acupuncture is used by an estimated 2% of adults each year for a range of conditions, including back pain. But the evidence is largely inconclusive and the best way to manage low back pain remains unclear.

So, researchers identified 241 adults aged 18 to 65 with persistent non-specific low back pain. The people were provided by members of the British Acupuncture Council. Patients were randomly assigned to either usual NHS care or up to 10 acupuncture treatment sessions. All patients remained under GP care.

Pain levels were measured at intervals during the two-year study period. Satisfaction with treatment and use of pain medication were also recorded.

At 12 months, patients in the acupuncture group showed a small benefit in pain scores compared to patients receiving usual care. Stronger evidence was observed for an increased benefit at 24 months.

At three months, patients in the acupuncture group were significantly more likely to be ‘very satisfied’ with their treatment compared with usual care, and with their overall care, but showed no such difference in satisfaction with information received.

At 24 months, the acupuncture group were more likely to report reduced worry about their back pain, less likely to report current use of pain medication for their back, and more likely to report no pain for the past 12 months.

Although the differences in pain scores between groups were small, they represent a clinically worthwhile benefit and can be viewed as a ‘moderate’ effect, say the authors.

Further research is needed to investigate the optimum timing for such an acupuncture treatment package, and to assess the value of repeated courses of acupuncture for patients experiencing recurrent episodes of low back pain, they conclude.

In a separate paper, the same researchers looked at the cost effectiveness of acupuncture for lower back pain. Costs were measured from both an NHS and a societal perspective, and effectiveness was measured in terms of quality adjusted life years (QALYs) gained.

They found that total NHS costs during the two-year study period were higher on average for the acupuncture group (£460; €673; $859) than for the usual care group (£345; €506; $644).

However, the cost per QALY gained was £4,241 (€6,223; $7,921). This is well below the lower threshold of £20,000 used by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to decide whether the NHS can afford to pay for a health technology.

A short course of traditional acupuncture for the treatment of lower back pain in primary care confers a modest health benefit measured in QALYs for a relatively minor extra NHS cost relative to usual care, say the authors. The use of acupuncture for the treatment of lower back pain therefore appears to be cost-effective in the longer term.

Jelly supports damaged discs to fight back pain

An injection of a jelly-like substance into damaged spinal discs could cure back pain for many sufferers.

A trial taking place in the US and Europe, in which patients with disc problems are injected with a liquid that becomes a jelly in the disc, restoring function in the early stages of degenertive problems. The treatments means it is less likely patients will need surgery in future and the spine is likely to remain more flexible.

At the moment disc back pain is treated with painkillers, physiotherapy and surgery where the disc is removed and a bone graft inserted, but this may lead to spinal stiffness.

This new treatment can be used alongside what is known as microdiscectomy operation, in which the soft inner core of the disc is removed to reduce pressure on the surrounding nerves. The new material then injected into the space created when the old filling is surgically removed from the disc.

More information at

British chiropractors defend treatment

London: A recent UK medical report which cast doubt on the benefits of spinal manipulation for back problems has been criticised as biased from the outset by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA).

In a statement the BCA says it is outraged by the recent claims made by Professor Ernst in a study* published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. The BCA believes that the study was created using carefully selected, negative articles, in support of a pre-determinedconclusion, and that this research was biased from the outset. The BCA strongly maintains that chiropractic is a safe and effective formof treatment and finds numerous faults with ErnstÂ’s latest attack on the well-established chiropractic community.

The study was flawed for a number of reasons: In the main, the co-author (Ernst) only selected 16 research studies, out of a possible 60-70. A quarter (25%) of these selected studies were by the reportÂ’s own author, adding even more bias to the results Elements of ‘spinÂ’ exist within the context of the research – making reference to ‘no evidence that SM is superior to other standard treatmentsÂ’
can actually be translated, as SM is just as effective as other standard treatments.

The study cited that 16,000 chiropractors were practising in the UK, in fact there are just 2,200 chiropractors in the UK, all of whom are regulated by the General Chiropractic Council.

The original reviews were not reported in full, leaving a great deal to the authorsÂ’ own interpretation. A report prepared for the NHS National electronic Library for Health (NeLH) by the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, based at the University of York, has already stated, “The reliability of the authors’ conclusions cannot be fully assessed” because “insufficient details of the methodological robustness of the reviews included in the systematic review were provided. In addition, few details relating to the quality or the results of the primary studies included in the original reviews were reported”.

Chiropractic is a mature profession, and numerous studies exist which clearly demonstrate that chiropractic treatment, including manipulative and spinal adjustment, is both safe and effective. The profession has always adopted a responsible attitude to research, and has never laid claims that manipulation is the cure for conditions such as asthma and colic but there have been instances where these conditions appear to have benefited from chiropractic treatment. More so chiropractors should be congratulated for carrying out studies, which actively explore the scope of the treatment for such conditions.

In recent years, there have been three Medical Research Council funded research projects with results published in the BMJ. All clearly demonstrate the efficacy and cost effectiveness of the chiropractic management of back pain.

Barry Lewis, BCA President comments: “The vast majority of chiropractic patients are suffering from lower back pain or neck pain. When it comes to back pain, there is no single treatment that has been researched more than chiropractic. No other treatment methodology has come under as much scrutiny, and the recent UK BEAM trial demonstrates that the ‘package of care’ chiropractic offers compares more than favourably with GP ‘best practice’.”

Existing research which Ernst failed to include within the ‘systematicreview’ include: UK Beam Trial; Back pain, exercise and manipulation (UK BEAM) randomised trial: effectiveness of physical treatments for back pain in primary care.
2004 Medical Research Council; ‘Low Back pain of mechanical origin: randomised comparison of Chiropractic from hospital outpatient treatment’; Meade et al. 1990 Medical Research Council (Follow-up-study) Trial ‘Randomised comparison of Chiropractic and hospital outpatient management for low back pain; results from extended follow up’; Meade et al. 1995 RCGP – Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Acute Low Back Pain (1996, 1999, 2001) Clinical Standards Advisory Group; Backpain Report 1994. Acute Back Pain – Primary Care Project; The Wiltshire and Bath Health Commission. Carter JT, Birrell LN (Editors) 2000. Occupational health guidelines for the management of low back pain at work – principal recommendations. Chiropractic Treatment in Workers with Musculoskeletal Complaints; Mark P Blokland DC et al;Journal of the Neuromusculoskeletal System House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology report on Complementary and Alternative Medicine November 2000

BCA chiropractors see tens of thousands of patients each day and they provide a safe and effective form of treatment that keeps people of all
ages healthy and happy: Ex England star and rugby player, Austin Healey: “I am aware of recent claims that manipulation doesn’t work. I couldn’t disagree more.
Chiropractic treatment plays an important part in keeping me at the top of
my game.”

Paul Clifton, BBC correspondent “I had a longstanding back injury and I have not the slightest doubt that chiropractic has enabled me to lead a normal life. As a cameraman and correspondent, carrying heavy equipment and travelling are part of my day to day life, without chiropractic treatment I certainly could not do the job I do.”

Professor Ernst has a track record of disparaging not only the chiropractic
profession but also other similarly regulated healthcare professions. Ernst and Canter have carefully selected negative articles in support of their conclusion that manipulation cannot be recommended as a treatment when national clinical practice guidelines, based on much more and better research than the studies this article has selected, has come to exactly the opposite conclusion.

*A systematic review of systematic reviews of spinal manipulation. Ernst E, Canter PH. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine Vol 20 April 2006, pp189-193.