in association with the charity BackCare

BackCare Awareness Week (#backpainweek) is from 7th– 12th October 2019 and the team at The Forge Clinic have been looking at how you can prevent and manage back pain.

What is BackCare?

BackCare is a charity established in 1968 by businessman Stanley Grundy following a back injury he suffered in a sailing accident. The charity is dedicated to providing information and education on back pain management and prevention, and it aims to reduce the burden of back and neck pain by providing guidance and advice to those affected by such pain.

The NHS estimates that up to 8 in every 10 people in the UK are affected by back pain at some point in their lives. It is one of the leading causes of sickness absence, costing the UK economy an estimated £15bn annually.

Back Pain

Back pain generally improves over some time. It can be experienced in the neck, upper and middle back, lower back and can include sciatica and buttock pain. The pain is generally not caused by anything serious and will get better over time. However, there are some things you can do to manage and prevent back pain.

back-painTo manage back pain:

  • Keep active and continue with normal activities, avoid sitting or not moving for long periods as this may make the pain worse
  • Do simple stretches or activities such as swimming, gentle walking or Pilates
  • Take pain killers or anti-inflammatory if safe for you to do so (ask your pharmacist if you are not sure)
  • Ice or heat packs, both will typically have a pain-relieving effect, however, heat can also help to alleviate any muscle spasms
  • Manual therapies such as Physiotherapy, Osteopathy, Chiropractic, and Massage Therapy can help with pain reduction and recommendations can be made by your practitioner on which exercises and stretches you can be doing to manage the pain at home.

Preventing back pain:

  • Keep active – do regular exercise and physical activity to improve strength and flexibility
  • Do simple back exercises and stretches – these can be recommended by your practitioner
  • Avoid sitting for long periods, take breaks on long drives and if you are sitting at a desk, try to get up and walk around as often as possible. We also recommend variable height desks.
  • Check posture when sitting, at your desk or lifting heavy objects.
  • Weight management with a healthy diet and regular exercise. Being overweight can increase the chances of developing back pain.

Each year for BackCare Awareness week the charity focuses on a different area or cause of back issues. The theme for this year’s campaign is Back Pain in Golf, so we have put together some tips, thoughts and ideas for golfers and also general back pain management and prevention.

Back Pain in Golf

Golf is enjoyed by more than 4 million people of all ages across the UK and has many health and well-being benefits. However, it is a high-risk sport where injuries are common as it requires strength, flexibility, power and endurance. Unfortunately, the effects of this over time can result in different types of injuries, the most common, lower back pain usually caused by a lack of flexibility and poor technique.

There is a distinct lack of awareness regarding the prevention of back-related injuries among golfers which hinders their play and performance in the sport. Common back problems in golfers include non-specific low back pain, stress fractures, lumbar disc herniation, early degeneration of discs, repetitive stress disorder and facet irritation

Playing golf can cause muscle fatigue and general aching particularly after long spells of inactivity and can lead to further injury of the underlying joints, so it’s important to stay flexible and fit by playing regularly. Physiotherapists, Osteopaths and Chiropractors, with treatment, aim to improve symptoms by using soft tissue and joint mobilisation, alongside exercises to both strengthen the stabilising muscles around the back and spine and improve flexibility through stretching exercises.

But there are simple things you can do before, during and after playing to avoid injury. The following tips and advice come from some of our practitioners.

Jean Luc Lafitte, Chiropractor at The Forge Clinic, say’s “The golf swing uses a lot of kinetic energy and velocity in relation to a small impact. This means that unlike other sports, like rugby for example, where the impact is absorbed, golf does not do this as effectively. This translates into the spine absorbing this force.

Golf also is one side dominant, so the spine is always being rotated in one direction, which means the opposite side will try and counter this by pulling in the opposite direction. So, my tip is to make sure you counter-rotate after every swing. This will help to maintain the muscles on the left and right as well as leveling the hips.”

Rory Mee, a Physiotherapist suggests “implementing rolling patterns. It works on the whole body stretches through “slings” targeting both the lower back and hips but upper limb restriction too! These exercises will help facilitate opening up through your drive and swing.”

Further advice on warming up before playing comes from Alan Burke, Osteopath. He says, “Professional golfers’ warm-up and warm down when they play a round so why wouldn’t you? Before you tee off do some swings and putting practice. When you have finished your round do some warm down swings and do some of those gently in the opposite direction as well.”

Phil McNulty, Osteopath also stresses the need to warm up and cool down properly. He says “The mistake golfers usually make is going from sitting in the car to retrieving their clubs from the boot, to playing, to sitting down again. A better approach would be to warm up for a few minutes before play, with a few spinal movements and practice swings, and then to free the back up after play with some simple back stretches.”

You can also find simple back care and back pain exercises from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy here.

BackCare Awareness Week Offer*

As part of BackCare Awareness Week, we are offering £10 off any treatment, available to all patients. Patients must mention BACKPAINWEEK at the time of booking to receive this discount.

For more information or to book an appointment please call 020 8332 6184 or email info@theforgeclinic.com.

General advice on avoiding or reducing back problems from our team here at The Forge Clinic

“Before moving first thing in the morning, take 8 slow steady deep breathes in bed. This pumps up your blood pressure which can help reduce nerve sensitivity, making movement less uncomfortable. This can be repeated after any period being still,” suggests David Silver, Clinical Lead and Physiotherapist.

Whilst Yasmin Jones, Osteopath advises “don’t stay sedentary when you have a minor back injury. Your back is stronger than you think and you are unlikely to do any further damage via movement. Further, movement is a fantastic way to help gauge how things are improving.”

For Lara Maddison, Physiotherapist, it’s simple “stay active and take regular posture breaks.” And Tristan Jones, Osteopath stresses “Take a regular break from any repetitive activity. That includes sitting at a desk all day. Get up and walk around, find an excuse, go to the water cooler, whatever. The back thrives on movement and hates immobility.”

Massage Therapist Giuliana Newman has some great tips for cost-free back care exercises, “The way I manage my lower backache is normally by keeping my sacroiliac and hip area mobilised through movement and strengthen the supporting muscles (glutes). Dancing works well for me, ballet bar to strengthen glutes, legs and straighten posture. Morning stretches include cat and cow and adductor stretches and childpose to lengthen my spine. Hamstring stretches are also good as tight hamstrings can affect lower back.

Another approach could be through using Acupuncture as a treatment as it can help improve quality of life as well as reduce lost workplace productivity through more effective and sustained pain relief.

Acupuncture - The Forge ClinicAcupuncture is the stimulation of nerves located in muscles and other tissues with the application of fine needles which may lead to the release of endorphins and other neuro-humoral factors. The expected result is a change in pain processing between the brain and spinal cord. This treatment has demonstrated efficacy in reducing inflammation by promoting the release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors and increasing local microcirculation. In turn, this may support better joint movement and relief of muscle stiffness as well as aid the healing of swelling and bruising

Both our Acupuncture practitioners, Maureen McCann and Sandra O’Hagan, conclude that “drinking 2 litres of water, avoiding toxins such as coffee, alcohol and smoking” can help and “use your back! Sitting at desks gives only small movements! Yoga, ti chi, Qi gong are all excellent for mobility in the back.”

And Sandra say’s “Keep your lower back warm. Do not allow wind, cold or damp to penetrate the lower abdomen or lower back, keep the kidney area warm and dry both front and back. The kidney area of the body keeps the lower back strong and it is the root of your ancestral Qi so you need to take good care of it to prevent injuries to the lower back and also to look after all the organs in the lower abdomen.

A warm hot water bottle on the lower back and abdomen strengthens your kidney yang energy. Another tip is to strengthen the kidney yang energy by doing pranic breath work in yoga and Qi gong exercises, they teach you how to enhance your breath in the lower abdomen, to your kidney energy and this will help strengthen the Qi of your whole body.”

For more information on back care and back health, or if you are experiencing back pain, please call us on 020 8332 6184 or email us at info@theforgeclinic.com 

The Offer*

So don’t forget as part of BackCare Awareness Week, we are offering £10 off any treatment, available to all patients. Patients must mention BACKPAINWEEK at the time of booking to receive this discount.

For more information or to book an appointment please call 020 8332 6184 or email info@theforgeclinic.com.

*Discount offers terms and conditions

  • Treatment must be scheduled between 7th-12th October 2019
  • This offer is redeemable up until 19th October 2019
  • Valid for one treatment per person
  • Subject to availability and not valid with any other offer, treatment plan or discount
  • Please mention this offer when booking. Mentions at the time of payment will not be valid.