With back pain affecting almost all Australians at some point in their lives, Spinal Health Week, from May 22-28, is a reminder to take proper care of your spine.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare said that estimates from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2014–15 National Health Survey show about 3.7 million Australians (16 per cent of the population) have back problems.
It is estimated that 70–90 per cent of people will suffer from lower back pain in some form at times, and it is the third leading cause of disease burden in Australia in 2011, behind cancer and cardio vascular disease.
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While back problems affect males and females equally, they are more common among those aged 65–79, and least common among people from birth to age 15.
And it is not only pain that presents as a symptom of spine problems.
A recent National Health Survey found that people aged 15 and over with back problems are less likely to perceive their health as excellent than those without the condition, and were 2.3 times as likely to rate their health as poor compared to those without back problems.
Also, people aged 18 and over with back problems were 2.2 times as likely to report very high levels of psychological distress (6.5 per cent) than those without the condition (2.9 per cent).
These are just some of the reasons it pays to take care of your back.
Spinal Health Week is organised by the Chiropractic Association of Australia (CAA).
It said that for chronic back problems, chiropractors use a variety of non-surgical treatments, such as spinal manipulation or manual therapies.
The practitioners advise patients on self-management of chronic pain through exercise, diet and lifestyle modification, working with other healthcare providers where needed.
Chiropractors are qualified to address musculoskeletal disorders and can help relieve the symptoms of chronic back pain.
They can also advise on appropriate lifestyle and dietary modifications to help patients lead healthier lives.
The CAA said that people with chronic back problems may find it difficult to exercise but they should try to remain as active as possible.
The best way is to seek advice, start gradually, be consistent and build capability over time.
People who use exercise as a treatment for chronic back pain find that it reduces back pain intensity.
This effect has been observed in multiple studies and it has been found that exercise has a positive effect on pain.
For more information visit https://chiropractors.asn.au/resources/health-initiatives/spinal-health-week.