Back awareness week

If you have a bad back, you don’t need an awareness week as unfortunately it is ever present in your consciousness. However, we now seem to have special days and weeks that are celebrated that I don’t remember from my dim and distant childhood – was there ever a Grandparent’s Day? This time I am reminding you that it is Back Care Awareness Week from 4 – 10 October 2008 and its theme and focus is ‘staying positive and believing that’you can do it’.

Given that 52% of the population now gets back pain – a 5% increase on last year – a positive attitude seems to be definitely called for. You now have full permission to stow the vacuum cleaner as the most common causes of bad backs apparently are spring cleaning and housework. As Quentin Crisp famously observed ‘There is no need to do any housework at all. After the first four years the dirt doesn’t get any worse.’ You may feel that’s a bit extreme but as a principle I could get excited about it.

More worrying is the fact that a recent study found that between 13% and 50% of teenagers have already had episodes of back pain and as many as two in every class of 15-18 year olds experience back pain on a recurrent or chronic basis. It’s apparently a combination of too much time in front of a computer, not enough physical activity and the increasing ‘couch potato’ syndrome. There are many options for the management and prevention of back pain and the earlier you seek help then the better it is. Back pain as well as physically causing immobilization, can cause many people to feel trapped by back pain. Even something simple like getting in or out of a car can become an enormous and painful challenge, so much so, that some people stop doing it and become housebound. This can lead to a downward spiral of pain, depression, lack of self-belief and negative feelings about your ability to lead a normal life. It is a ‘can do’ attitude that the back awareness week wants to promote to counter this.

Personally I am a big fan of chiropractic, particularly McTimoney which is less invasive and bone cracking than the more widely known osteopathic practices. There are plenty of events going on around the country, kicking off with a major exhibition at Olympia. If you would like to now more then visit the website at