A new study shows Britain is risking a back pain epidemic caused by unhealthy habits and sedentary lifestyles. The findings from a study by the British Acupuncture Council to mark ‘Acupuncture Awareness Week’ (3rd-10th March 2014) show that almost 80 per cent of people suffer with back pain yet admit to behaviours that put their backs under unnecessary strain1.
The study of 5,000 adults found that almost half of the nation admit to eating on their lap, 40 per cent complain they sit at a desk all day and over a third admit to watching TV or films in bed. When asked about their posture, almost a third also admitted they slouch most of the time.
Further results reveal that when it comes to dealing with back pain, 74 per cent say they repeatedly use painkillers to deal with their discomfort rather than addressing the root cause of the problem.
Rhiannon Griffiths, a qualified member of the British Acupuncture Council, comments: “Painkillers often numb the end symptom and mask the problem but do not address many of the combined underlying causes of back pain. By stimulating different points of the body, traditional acupuncture can be extremely beneficial for back pain, providing long term pain relief and reducing inflammation.”
With 2.3 million acupuncture treatments carried out each year, traditional acupuncture is one of the most popular complementary therapies practised in the UK today. Based on ancient principles which go back nearly two thousand years, acupuncture involves placing extremely fine, sterile needles painlessly at specific points on the body to trigger a healing response.
Despite acupuncture’s widely recognised health benefits, many of us are missing the point when it comes to this ancient Chinese medicine. Statistics show that 41 per cent of people would only consider acupuncture as a last resort and 88 per cent didn’t know the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends the therapy for persistent, non-specific lower back pain.
Rhiannon continues: “I find that many patients opt for the painkiller route with limited success before turning to acupuncture. Simple lifestyle changes alongside acupuncture could save millions of people taking medication every day. It’s important to recognise the impact our behaviour has on our bodies and to make sure we are fully informed about all treatment options to promote long term health and wellbeing.”