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Back Care Information

Do you suffer from back pain? If you do, you are not alone.

Four out of every five people will experience back pain at some point in their lives and one in three people over 30 suffer from chronic back pain.

Back Pain Basics

Many of us don't always sit and stand properly. So when we pull, lift, or bend we can end up hurting our back. Most back pain is caused by minor strains in muscles and ligaments, which usually heal fairly quickly without treatment. However, mild back pain is a warning that you need to take special care to prevent a more serious problem.

Who is at risk from back trouble?

Anybody can develop a back problem. You maybe at greater risk than you think!

If you:

  • Have a job, which involves bending and lifting heavy objects.
  • Sit stooped for long periods of time in a poorly designed working environment.
  • Spend a lot of time driving.
  • Have a baby or small children.
Self Care Tips
  • Try to maintain good posture when you are standing or sitting.
  • Lift and bend with care, keeping your back straight and bending your knees.
  • Carry heavy objects close to your body.
  • Learn exercises to improve your posture and mobility. (Physiotherapists, chiropractors and osteopaths can help you with this.
  • Work on strengthening your stomach muscles as this will help to support your back by improving your core strength.
  • Try to avoid driving for long periods of time.
  • If you need to go on a long journey make sure that you get out of the car every 90 minutes.
  • Avoid slouching in long seated chairs.
  • Make sure that your mattress is providing you with adequate support. Not too soft, or too firm.
Things to avoid
  • Standing still for long periods of time.
  • Carrying heavy or unbalanced loads.
  • Coughing or sneezing whilst bent over.
  • Depending on pain relieving drugs for long periods of time.

Neck Pain Basics

There are seven spinal vertebrae in your neck. They are in constant movement and have to support the weight of your head. Ligaments and muscles mainly support these vertebrae. There are nerves in the neck that run down the shoulders and arms.

This is why problems that develop in the upper spine or neck can cause problems in other areas of the upper body such as the shoulders and arms. Your neck is very vulnerable to stress and strains and can react badly to even minor accidents. Usually a day's rest and a good night's sleep will help to alleviate any discomfort. However if the pain persists for more that 24 hours it would be wise to consult a registered chiropractor, physiotherapist or osteopath.

Stress and tiredness can cause neck problems

You neck can be affected by muscle tension caused by fatigue and personal tensions and stress. This can lead to headaches or migraine.

Manipulative treatment by a Chiropractor, osteopath, or physiotherapist can restore spinal mobility and reduce the build up of pressure on the nerves. Chiropractic therapy can help to relax muscles, which will give relief from pain.

You may also benefit from a regime of exercise to help improve and strengthen your neck muscles.

The loss of spinal mobility in the upper vertebrae will cause neck pain. It can also cause pressure on the nerves which in turn can lead to pain in the arms, or even numbness and 'pins and needles'.

Golden rules to avoid Neck pain
  • Don't work for long periods in one position.
  • Don't slump in chairs.
  • Avoid sitting in a draught.
  • Climb up rather that reach up for things.
  • Exercise with proper precautions.
  • Improve your posture by sitting and standing as straight as possible.
  • Make sure that your pillow is giving you neck the correct level of support.

(The information above is for general interest only and does not claim in any way to be medical advice.)

Taking care of your back

The following exercises are recommended by back pain therapists:



Start each exercise lying flat on your back with your palms facing downwards.


Raise your left leg, with your knees slightly bent.


Gently cross your leg over the right side of your body, lifting your lower back and buttocks off the floor while keeping your upper body flat.


Start lowering your leg towards the floor. Hold this position for four seconds. Repeat with your right leg.


Raise your left leg, with your knees bent.


Grasp your knee with both hands and gently pull it toward your body. Hold this position for four seconds. Repeat with your right leg.


Raise your left leg, with your knees bent.


Gently cross your leg over the right side of your body, lifting your lower back and buttocks off the floor while keeping your upper body flat.


Start lowering your leg towards the floor while keeping your knee bent. Hold this position for four seconds. Repeat with your right leg.

An exercise program is an important part of caring for your back. Remember to consult a back care professional before embarking on any exercise program. The last thing you want to do is make your back pain worse.

  • The goal is to work toward getting rid of your back pain through a sensible exercise program. Such programs will usually incorporate loosening, stretching, and firming exercises.
  • Resistance training strengthens bones, joints, and muscles.
  • Yoga provides gentle exercise as well relaxation.
  • Pilates is an excellent way to build the core muscles around your spine.
  • Swimming is excellent exercise that helps to strengthen your back muscles and build up stamina.
  • Remember to tell the instructor about your back problem before you get started.