Too many Australians are just accepting back pain as a fact of life, turning to painkillers when the discomfort becomes intense and not exploring the underlying “big picture” reasons for their discomfort, according to the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia - South Australia (CAASA).
National research, commissioned for National Chiropractic Care Week 2009 (May 18-24) found 67% of Australians suffer from back pain on a weekly basis and one in four Australians suffers daily pain.*
Among retirees, the prevalence of back pain is much higher with one in three suffering daily back pain.*
Despite the burden of back pain, the majority of Australians consider themselves to be in good health even though three quarters of respondents don’t take the recommended amount of daily exercise.*
CAA South Australia President Dr Zoe Love said, “Lack of exercise is one of the key contributing factors to back pain and poor spinal health along with other ‘big picture’ lifestyle choices such as diet, smoking and poor posture. It’s not just back pain, it’s the big picture.”
According to Dr Love, Australians need to consider that back pain could be a sign of something more significant, and should not be viewed as an inevitable fact of life that should be “put up with”.
“Back pain can be an indicator of how poor lifestyle choices are affecting an individual’s spinal health,” said Dr Love.
“The vast majority of people consider back pain as something to treat when it happens, usually through prescription and over-the-counter drugs.”
However, while drugs may relieve pain temporarily, they may be just a quick fix solution, which ignores underlying structural problems and lifestyle habits – the ‘big picture’,” she said.
The national research also found that many people choose just to rest when they’ve got back pain.* However, Dr Love said it is important to resume normal activities as soon as possible. Staying active helps to prevent long-term problems.
The CAA research found that people’s weight remains a significant concern with 48% who considered themselves overweight experiencing daily back pain.*
Being overweight made them almost twice as likely to experience daily back pain when compared to the average Australian. *
“Making good lifestyle choices and maintaining your spinal health are key to reducing the risk of back pain and leading a healthy life,” said Dr Love.
Through their five-year university training, chiropractors can provide specialist care, exercises, healthy lifestyle advice and information regarding the “big picture”.
“Chiropractic care offers a safe, proven, and effective drug free choice in spinal health, care,” said Dr Love. “Chiropractic can help you get to the cause of your pain and most importantly, it helps you to maintain your long term spinal health and maximise the body’s overall health and performance.
“Not only can chiropractic provide pain relief, it corrects dysfunction in the nervous system and musculoskeletal system, enabling individuals to unlock their full health potential.”
As part of National Chiropractic Care Week 2009 (May 18 – 24), the CAA has developed a free ”Big Picture” booklet on spinal health, to provide great information to Australians and help them lead healthy lives.
The booklet contains information on back pain such as common misconceptions, causes, lifestyle choices, risk factors, spinal health, chiropractic care and a do it yourself home posture check.
Throughout May, selected chiropractors from the CAA will also help Australians by offering free spinal assessments and will be on hand to provide expert advice on how to maintain your spinal health.
For more information on National Chiropractic Care Week 2009 visit www.chiropractors.asn.au/thebigpicture or contact the CAA hotline toll-free on 1800 075 003.
Mobile 0414 69 70 71; office 08 8121 5264
About the Research
2009 Australia’s Back Pain: Commissioned by the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia (National) and conducted by Square Holes Pty Ltd between March 1-3 2009. The research looked at Australians experience with back pain including prevalence, attributed causes, treatments and lifestyle habits.
The Australia’s Back Pain research was conducted using a sample size of 600 with interviews conducted in every major capital city making it statistically reliable for the population size. The research carries a +/- 4% margin of error, which is within accepted industry guidelines.
The key findings from the research can be obtained by contacting either Simon Hatcher on 0419 780 071 or Karl Herger on (02) 4731 8011 or 0429 999 160.
the Chiropractors Association of Australia, South Australia (CAASA)
Members of the Chiropractors Association of Australia SA (CAASA) are registered, primary contact health professionals who undertake a minimum of five years of university training across three government universities in Australia.
Chiropractors usually work in their own private practice or in clinics with other healthcare professionals. They may also act as allied health consultants in areas including occupational health and safety, sport, rehabilitation, health insurance assessment and medico-legal advising.
Their tenet is that "Wellness is a lifelong process of assuming personal responsibility that empowers the individual to exercise choice, make informed decisions and take action towards a more balanced, dynamically sustainable and fulfilling existence in all dimensions of life."