As part of Spinal Health Week this week, local chiropractors are raising awareness of chronic back pain and encouraging Australians not to suffer in silence
Spinal Health Week is a health initiative of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia and as part of this year’s campaign, Dr Peter Cowie, Chiropractor from Westleigh Chiropractic wants to put out the message that there’s no need to suffer with severe back pain when there are so many qualified chiropractors to resolve the problem.
“Chronic back pain is a national issue – one in six Australians suffer from the physical and psychological effects of chronic back problems,” says Peter Cowie. “That’s an estimated 3.7 million people suffering.
“So many of the people that I see think that it’s normal to have back pain. Many people have put up with it for years.”
A sedentary lifestyle and poor posture are risk factors for chronic back pain. The good news is it’s never too late to improve spinal health.
Dr Cowie, who has practised at Westleigh for 34 years, said that “simple measures such as incorporating walking into your daily routine can improve chronic back pain symptoms. Walking keeps the spine active and mobile. Improving posture can also help to relieve strain on the spine and improve circulation.”
For chronic back problems, chiropractors use a variety of treatments such as spinal adjustments to improve spinal function and posture.
“If I was asked what my advice would be to someone with chronic back pain, I would say don’t be one of the people who says to me that ‘I wish I’d visited the chiropractor years ago’.”
In addition to getting checked by a chiropractor, people should also consider walking more, sitting less and using a standing desk if you use a computer a lot during your working day.
Visit spinalhealthweek.com.au to learn more about chronic back pain and chiropractic care.
Peter’s other spinal health hacks
*Drink at least two litres of water a day to keep joints mobile
* Walk more
* Sit less! One of the big contributors to back pain is sitting. For people who spend more than a few hours at a desk, use a desk that elevates allowing you to stand while you work. Spring assisted or motorised versions cost a reasonable amount but for someone sitting all day they should be a priority. A short term solution is a fold-up stand that sits on your desk and elevates your laptop so you can use it standing up. These folding stands are available quite cheaply from office supply firms
* Computers: looking down at laptops on desks and portable devices in your hand places a lot of strain on the neck and upper back. Ideally the centre of the screen should be at eye level. Laptop users should consider buying another monitor and placing it at the correct height and plugging it into the laptop display output
* Supplements: people who’ve been experiencing back pain for many years have usually tried various supplements such as Glucosamine, which helps some and is probably worth a trial of a month or two.
* Juices: I’ve found that many clients who drink fresh vegetable juice report a reduction in their general aches. My favourite is 1/3 carrot and 2/3 celery made with a juicer, not a blender.
* Apps: the CAA have released two apps that can help people improve their posture and walk more. Download the Just Start Walking and Straighten Up apps from the App store or Google Play.