the times Saturday October 11 2014
the times Saturday October 11 2014
6 Body + Soul
Body + Soul 7
The good back guide: what the experts do to beat the pain
Almost 80 per cent of us suffer back pain
"The simplest thing to do is go hands-
will still function as a paperclip. People
You could also try standing on one
free or use a head set," Loatey says.
think they have a new injury but it is in
leg while you are brushing your teeth,
at some point in our life. What can we
Upper back pain
"When you do use your Kindle, hold it
fact the result of years of desk work.
Hutchful says. "This works the core
up with your arm rather than having
Their injury is caused by what's known
stability muscles which protect our back
do to have healthier backs?
Though it can be caused by sleeping in
it in your lap. Keeping your eyes looking
as postural fixity — being stuck in one
and which don't get used enough —
an awkward position or spending too
straight ahead while using any of
place." Heavy lifting and driving for long
particularly if you have a sedentary
much time at your desk, upper back
Angela Epstein asked leading osteopaths,
these type of devices corrects and
periods of time also increase risk.
lifestyle," he says.
(and neck pain) can sometimes happen
straightens the spine."
Though quite rare, if you hear a
"This exercise also helps to restore
because of anxiety and stress as tension
chiropractors and physiotherapists
sudden crack in your back, get it checked
balance and improve posture, since we
causes the neck muscles to contract.
immediately. It could be down to some
often have a tendency to lean to one
Over a period of time, nerves, muscles
form of vertebral collapse, though this is
side. Stand on your left leg first until you
and ligaments become stretched,
usually as a result of severe injury or an
start to feel too wobbly and then do the
which causes strain and leads to pain
underlying issue such as the
same with the right."
ritain is in the grip of a back
therapist and registered osteopath. "But
bone-thinning condition osteoporosis.
pain crisis. A survey by the
often it's sedentary habits and lifestyle —
"Repetitiveforwardneck bending while
British Chiropractic Asso-
lack of exercise, weight gain or just not
sitting at our desk is one of the most
ciation (BCA) this week re-
moving around enough — which are fi-
common issues," says Tim Allardyce.
Treatment and prevention
vealed that three quarters of
nally taking their toll."
"We all tend to look down too much,
The pain can be severe and you may
us (77 per cent) are affected
According to the BCA survey 82 per
and this causes the muscles and
need something prescribed by your GP if
Garry Trainer is an osteopath and the
at some point in our lives,
cent of people now spend up to six hours
ligaments at the back of our neck and
go-to healer for celebrities such as
with nearly a quarter suffering daily.
a day in front of a computer screen, while
upper back to lengthen, reducing the
and painkillers don't help. Very rarely a
Stella McCartney, Emma Thompson
So have we brought this so-called epi-
49 per cent admitted spending up to six
support to the head, and leaving
slipped disc can press on the spinal cord,
and Gwyneth Paltrow, who said that
demic on ourselves? It only takes a
hours a day watching television.
the neck and upper back
giving pain down both legs and trouble
"at the end of a treatment one feels
glance at our daily habits to see where we
Sammy Margo, a chartered physio-
susceptible to pain and
urinating. If this happens, see a doctor
entirely put back together".
might be going wrong. A recent study
therapist, says that we have simply
urgently as you could have a serious
£100 for a one-hour consultation
found that almost half of the nation ad-
condition known as cauda equina
mits to eating on their lap, 40 per cent
walked everywhere. Now we use cars. Or
syndrome which, untreated, can lead to
complain that they sit at a desk all day
we don't go out at all, but sit in front of a
incontinence and being unable to walk.
Tim Allardyce is a physiotherapist and
and more than a third admit to watching
screen. That's why I'm treating so much
It is very important that you keep
osteopath who treats some of the UK's
television or films in bed. The evidence
backache, along with ‘text thumb' inju-
The simplest thing to do would be to
active if you have a slipped disc. This
top sports players including Olympians
that our lifestyle is driving the problem is
ries or ‘mouse shoulder' from people
learn to relax — perhaps trying
The sciatic nerve is the longest in the
boosts circulation so that blood carries
and international football players, using
spending hours on their devices. The
meditation or yoga which will help the
body, running from the lower back,
oxygen and nutrients to the area to
techniques such as laser and ultrasound,
"People often think they must have
internet has stopped people moving."
muscles to unclench. A study by the
branching through the buttocks, and all
nourish the joint and prevent the
massage and spinal manipulation.
done something to injure themselves —
Everyone is different and our backs
University of York, funded by Arthritis
the way down both legs, ending at the
condition getting worse. If you are in
£38 for 30 minutes
they may say that they felt their back go
show the strain in different ways. So
Research UK, found that people offered
feet. So if anything compresses or
severe pain you may need to rest
when they were picking something up,"
how do you know what kind of pain
a specially designed 12-week yoga
irritates it, this causes pain that radiates
completely for the first couple of days.
says Tim Allardyce, a chartered physio-
is affecting you? And how to treat it?
programme experienced greater
out from the lower back and travels
However, after this period, you should,
Thomas Jeppesen is a chiropractor who
improvements in back function and
down the leg.
under medical advice, start to move
uses traditional methods alongside
more confidence in performing everyday
"Triggers include wearing high heels,
around as soon as you can.
other treatments such as acupuncture
putting on weight and pregnancy as this
"Gentle cycling is good as the
counselling and psychotherapy at
Lower back pain
tasks than those offered conventional
forms of GP care (yogaforbacks.co.uk).
can put a load on your facet joints," says
moderate rhythmic movements keep
clinics in Leicester and Mansfield.
the chiropractor Tim Hutchful. "If you
your back moving," adds Sammy Margo.
He has been on hand for the British
Known as mechanical back pain, its
There is often a tipping point for
are sitting slouched, over time this can
But avoid high-impact activities, such as
team at events such as the Beijing
hallmark is a dull, thudding ache or
backache when it moves from a dull
cause the discs in your back to bulge,
running and aerobics.
Olympics in 2008 and the Winter
clenching feeling at the bottom of your
ache to something acute and enduring.
which may lead to leg or sciatic pain."
Olympics in Turin in 2006.
spine, which sometimes flares into your
"These are often situational changes,"
£55 for an initial one-hour session;
buttocks. It usually feels better as soon
says Sammy Margo. "Maybe you've
as you rest. The main causes are lack of
started a stressful new job, put on a lot of
Treatment and prevention
exercise, slouching and poor posture.
weight, are getting divorced — and quite
Anti-inflammatories combined with
Pain and stiffness
"The body needs mobility," says Tim
simply, the back can't handle it."
physiotherapy will help. Lying on your
Sam Kankanamge is an osteopath with
Allardyce. "Our spines are comprised of
As with all backache, when it's at the
side in a foetal position with a pillow
in the morning
more than 20 years of experience in
26 mobile blocks of bone (vertebrae)
acute, super-painful stage use ice on the
between your legs should offer some
Over time cartilage breaks down
holistic healthcare. He uses
which rotate, bend, extend and are
area for about 20 minutes every few
Surrey. Gopo capsules are available over
relief. Do this until the pain settles down.
between the joints in the back, which
acupuncture, energetic healing,
designed for movement. So when our
hours for two to three days, suggests
Soft tissue massage can help by
creates pain and inflammation. Small
ayradic-yogic and chi-gong techniques
spines don't get the movement they
Allardyce. "After that, go for ‘contrast
In terms of getting moving, swimming
increasing circulation, relaxing muscle
growths on the bone called osteophytes
alongside osteopathy, and also has
require, the joints in the spine become
bathing' — that is alternating 5-10
is ideal as it doesn't put any pressure on
spasm and triggering the release of
then form and try to re-stabilise
practices in the Hollywood Hills,
stiff. This causes muscle spasm, pain and
minutes of ice with 20 minutes of heat,
the joints, adds Sammy Margo. So too
endorphins — the body's natural
the joint, which can cause irritation. The
Los Angeles and Sri Lanka.
can lead to problems."
such as a hot water bottle — to ease the
is Pilates to improve flexibility and
muscles and relieve inflammation."
condition, spinal arthritis, causes
£70 for one hour
strengthen back muscles.
Avoid using two pillows as you sleep as
Once the pain starts to subside it's
stiffness on getting out of bed in the
Treatment and prevention
At work, get up every 30 minutes to
it will overstretch your upper back and
important to start getting active slowly,
morning — often called "first movement
walk around and stretch your muscles.
through walking, swimming and gentle
pain" — which eases off during the day
Sammy Margo is a chartered
The days of strict bed rest are long gone.
neck muscles. Chiropractor Rishi Loatey
Back at your desk, watch your posture.
stretching. Be mindful of your posture.
as you move around.
physiotherapist who works with clients
Instead, the focus needs to be on
says: "You want to keep the spine in a
"Sit up with your back straight, your
"Remember to avoid the hunch," says
The condition is more common as we
to improve the body's ability to heal
relieving the pain and getting moving.
neutral position. If you are using two
shoulders down and back, and elbows
Hutchful. "When our back is in a ‘C'
head into middle age as the body is
and look after itself through massage,
Exercising and working out helps to
pillows you are probably forcing the
relaxed at your sides," says Ian Harding,
shape it creates curvature of the spine,
simply not as forgiving. "Our backs
postural correction, spinal
strengthen the spinal muscles which
neck into a bent forward position."
a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at
puts more pressure on the disc and may
don't have the same bounce or spring,"
manipulation and core stability
help to support the back, according to
"It's important to keep the neck
Spire Bristol Hospital. "Your buttocks
cause it to weaken and bulge. You should
Allardyce. "Working out also strengthens
mobile, to strengthen the muscles and
should touch the back of the chair. And
be creating an ‘S' shape with your back."
£50 for 30 minutes
our core muscles, which provides a
improve your range of movement," says
avoid crossing your legs. Your keyboard
When backache isn't backache
corset effect on the spine giving it
Allardyce. "Every couple of hours, look
should be directly in front of you, with
Sudden onset pain Treatment and prevention
over your left and right shoulder to
the mouse by its side, and your phone
On rare occasions backache
pancreatitis sufferers see
This is most likely to be a slipped disc.
A physiotherapist can suggest specific
Amy Ku Redler is a specialist in yoga
Using anti-inflammatory drugs such as
mobilise the neck and then tip your
close to you to avoid repetitive reaching.
might be a symptom of another,
their GP about back pain
Also known as a prolapsed or herniated
and regular exercises to relieve the
and pilates with 20 years of experience.
ibuprofen may help and there is also a
head, taking your ear down to your
You should be able to keep your wrists
possibly more serious, health
before they are properly
disc, this happens when one of the discs
condition. Your bed might also need
She treats clients at home with tailor-
natural alternative — in the form of the
shoulder. This should release the pain in
straight, shoulders relaxed and elbows by
issue. Kidney, bladder and
that sit between the bones of the spine is
reviewing — especially if your partner
made sessions and offers holistic and
fairly innocuous rosehip. "There's now
your neck and upper back."
your side while using it."
gallbladder problems can easily
If you have back pain that
damaged and presses on the nerves. The
weighs more than you since it will affect
ayurvedic massage, as well as longer
a large body of evidence supporting the
Cradling the phone in the crook of
As well as regular gentle exercise,
be mistaken as back pain,
does not have an obvious
pain may start as a slight or dull ache in
the support of the mattress. Opt for two
residential yoga retreats. Clients include
use of Gopo — a compound derived
your neck, or peering down at your iPad
reflexology may be as effective as
particularly in women.
cause, you know that you
the lower back, then some hours or
single mattresses zipped together if you
politicians and stressed city workers.
from rosehip — in musculoskeletal
or Kindle can overstretch back and neck
painkillers for the condition. A study by
Back pain is also a common
haven't hurt your back, or if
maybe a day or so later you're likely to
can't bear to be apart. There's no
£95 for a one-hour home visit
conditions, with research indicating
muscles. "This presents as a deep muscle
the University of Portsmouth found
symptom of pancreatic
your range of movement is
get a sudden onset of pain. Hutchful says
evidence that a firm mattress is any
that it can effectively relieve acute
ache across the tops of the shoulders.
those who had the treatment felt about
problems — pancreatitis
unimpaired and yet painkillers
that symptoms often creep up without
better at helping to deal with back pain.
exacerbations of chronic back pain,"
This is due to muscle fatigue in the
40 per cent less pain.
(inflammation of the pancreas)
are not helping, then you
any warning. "I use what I call the
Just get one that feels comfortable.
says Dr Rod Hughes, consultant
trapezius muscle, and when this muscle
Acupuncture is also recommended for
and pancreatic cancer. Around
should see your GP as soon
paperclip analogy. You could bend a
Sleeping with a small pillow between the
rheumatologist at St Peter's Hospital,
becomes fatigued from overuse, it gets
persistent, non-specific lower back pain.
20 to 30 per cent of
exercises see next page
very sore," Allardyce says.
paperclip once a day for a month and it
knees may help symptoms at night.
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Topical Metronidazole (10 Percent)Decreases Posthemorrhoidectomy Painand Improves Healing Thomas J. Nicholson, M.D., David Armstrong, M.D. Georgia Colon and Rectal Surgical Clinic, Atlanta, Georgia INTRODUCTION: Oral metronidazole has been previously improved, compared with that of carrier controls. [Key demonstrated to decrease postoperative pain after open dia-