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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:

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.

Acupressure helpful in backpain

Taipei: Acupressure, an ancient Chinese massage has been found more helpful in relieving lower back pain than most other treatments, a new study has discovered.

Researchers at the Ntional Taiwan University found that nearly 90 per cent of patients felt reduced discomfort after acupressure treatment. Backpain a common problem worldwide

The Taiwan study, published in the British Medical Journal, used 129 patients with chronic lower back pain who were already attending a specialist orthopaedic clinic. They were split into two groups with half receiving acupressure and the rest conventional physical therapy. The researchers assessed the patients immediately after their course of treatment had finished and again after six months.The patients in the acupressure group were found to have less disability due to back pain than the other group.

The researchers found that acupressure resulted in an 89 per cent reduction in disability – and the benefits were still evident at six months. They also saw improvementsin leg pain and ‘pain interfering-with normal work’, with a reduction in time taken off work as a result.

Professor Tony Hsui-Hsi Chen, University’s Institute of Preventive Medicine which led the research said: ‘This study shows that acupressure is more effective in alleviating low back pain than physical therapy.

‘The effect was not only seen in the short term, but lasted for six months. We hope that this technique-can be imparted to other therapists now that its efficacy has been shown in our study, so that acupressure can be used in other populations.’

ShouldersBack – treatment for backpain


London: Around 2.5 million people in the UK experience suffer chronic back pain at some point in their lives which results in over 80 million days off work and this in itself leads to over a million GP referrals and costs more than ÂŁ1.6 billion every year to treat. In total, three quarters of all UK adults have experienced back pain and eight million of them for periods of more than four weeks.

Back pain affects all professions, from chefs, through to office workers, people who practice yoga, electricians, doctors, nurses and those who partake in all forms of sport – but there is something that can help which is a simple, effective way to correct posture.

ShouldersBack was designed by orthopaedic professionals and is a unisex undergarment designed to gently remind you to maintain the correct posture even as the muscles tire. Made entirely of elastic and un-obtrusive so can be worn beneath clothes, ShouldersBack is flexible enough to allow movement but sturdy so the wearer remains upright.

Good posture encourages your muscles, joints and ligaments to work as nature intended. It means your vital organs are in the right position and can function at peak efficiency. Good posture can also contribute towards the normal functioning of the nervous system. Without good posture, your overall health and total efficiency may be compromised. In the long term, poor posture can even affect the digestive and respiratory system.

Operating on orthopaedic principles, ShouldersBack gently coaxes your back and also opens up the chest encouraging proper breathing and correct alignment without hyper-extending the lower back.

ShouldersBack costs ÂŁ39.95 (+ÂŁ2.50 P&P) and is available from LK Distribution Ltd on Tel: 01737 700 020.

Back pain



Stott Pilates Simple Stretches ÂŁ16.75

STRETCHING is paramount for good posture. Yoga and pilates are both good for improving flexibility and teaching good posture and alignment. This video shows a sequence of stretching based on these disciplines and is well worth practising every day until the techniques are learned. Mail order: 0870 8484842

Back Block ÂŁ30

THIS simple wooden block can do wonders for correcting the effects of poor posture. You lie over it at the end of the day to stretch out muscles that have been improve posture, prevent back pain and increase flexibility of the spine. Mail order: 01993 811666

The Active BackCare school bag ÂŁ23.50

This backpack has been ergonomically designed with a padded back panel and lumbar curve to ease the strain on the spine. Available in different sizes, according to the age and height of child.
Mail order: 020 8977 5474

Mirage Boots ÂŁ120

FOOTWEAR can have a big impact on posture. Wearing high heels automatically
throws you out of alignment by pushing you forward. These suede and faux fur
wrap-around boots feature Negative Heel Technology, adapted from the principles
of yoga, helping to lengthen calf and thigh muscles and placing the spine in the
correct position. Stockists: 0161 975 5380

Perfect Posture Bra ÂŁ23.99

THE problem with many bras is that they put pressure on the shoulders, causing
the wearer to slump forward. But this bra incorporates a posture-enhancing design to take pressure away from the shoulders and so help to prevent posture-related health problems. Stockists: 0871 871 8192

Gaiam On The Ball Kit ÂŁ17.99

This is a fitness ball aimed at small children (3 to 6-year-olds), helping build good posture from an early age. Stockists: 01926 816177 or mail order 0870 241 5471

Bambach Saddle Seat ÂŁ468.83

SHAPED like a horse’s saddle, this stool encourages good posture, allowing your
hip joints to rest in a relaxed, open position and preventing you from crossing your legs. Also has a version with a detachable back (ÂŁ562.83). Stockists:
0800 581 108

Ab Slider ÂŁ29.99

STRONG abdominals play a key part in good posture. This product will help strengthen this area — you slide it forwards and then use your abdominals to pull it back. It comes with a one-way locking mechanism so you do not pull your back muscles and a mat to protect your knees.
Stockists: 020 7935 5291

Plantronics CS60 Headset ÂŁ199

MANY postural problems are caused by sitting for prolonged periods with a phone
crooked under your neck. This wireless headset is ideal for office workers, as it frees up the body to maintain good posture. It also allows you to walk 100 metres away from your desk while on the phone.
Stockists: 0800 410014