Look after your back during National Spinal Health Week

Tuesday, 21 May, 2024

Look after your back during National Spinal Health Week

National Spinal Health Week (20–26 May 2024), an initiative of the Australian Chiropractors Association (ACA), aims to improve the spinal health of all Australians through increasing awareness of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), including low back pain, which currently costs the Australian economy over $55.1 million annually. Four in every five Australians experience back pain at some point in their lives, usually as a result of MSDs. Low back pain is reportedly the single leading cause of disability globally in both men and women.

A new World Health Organisation (WHO) for non-surgical management of chronic primary low back pain in adults in primary and community care settings found that low back pain is a common condition which the WHO has labelled a global public health issue. The guideline, written by a range of leading musculoskeletal health practitioners, provides evidence-based recommendations on holistic non-surgical interventions including chiropractic treatments.

Dr David Cahill, President of the ACA, welcomed the WHO’s first guideline aimed at addressing low back pain and chronic low back pain in adults. Results from the global research recommended non-surgical interventions such as chiropractic health care to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for low back pain sufferers.

“With its findings focused on individualised holistic healthcare, the WHO’s research aligns with the heart of ACA’s chiropractic philosophy — that patient education and self-care strategies, tailored exercise programs and physical therapies including chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy and massage can provide effective, evidence-based holistic drug-free solutions for back pain sufferers,” Cahill said.

Of the millions of Australians impacted by MSDs including low back pain, 58% are reportedly of working age in their peak income earning years (25–64), with physical workers the highest percentage of Australians at risk of back pain and injury. With physical work typically involving strenuous activities that can strain the spine, muscles, ligaments and joints, repetitive actions such as bending, squatting or standing for extended periods can lead to musculoskeletal injuries which, if left untreated, can lead to a chronic pain condition or disability.

Older Australians are also at high risk, particularly those over 65 years as they’re more likely to develop chronic LBP. Inactive Australians who don’t exercise and spend long hours sitting at work or at home are also at risk of developing poor posture, weight gain and a range of associated musculoskeletal problems that can impact their quality of life and overall health and wellbeing.

The ACA promotes the importance of maintaining spinal health through its annual flagship campaign — National Spinal Health Week — an award-winning awareness campaign dedicated to improving the spinal health of Australians of all ages.

“When it comes to treating most back pain, best practice starts by avoiding prescribed and over-the counter medications and instead, accessing person-centred, low risk, non-surgical, drug-free therapies that can treat the underlying cause not just the symptoms while providing self-care preventative measures essential in delivering holistic patient care,” Cahill said.

To download a free ACA Back Pain Factsheet, among other resources, or to participate in Spinal Health Week, visit: www.spinalhealthweek.org.au.

Image credit: iStock.com/ljubaphoto

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