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Sunday 21 September 2014

Stretch and stand tall to help beat the back pain pandemic

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

Published 15/10/2013 | 04:00

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Wrestler David Hehir and Eva-Marie Carey (6) at the launch of the fifth annual Straighten Up Ireland Week yesterday

MANY of us could reduce the scourge of back pain by improving our posture and working on our flexibility and balance.

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"Straighten Up and Move" is the advice from the Chiropractic Association of Ireland (CAI) ahead of World Spine Day tomorrow.

Dr Siobhan Guiry, President of the CAI, said: "Back pain is the second most frequent reason for doctor visits, second only to the common cold.

"Increasingly in this technological age, individuals are experiencing greater levels of spinal discomfort and disability related to stress and poor posture.

"Many people commonly work and play in cramped or slouched postures. The resulting pandemic of work and recreation-related chronic spinal disorders compromises the quality of our lives. Not only does this have a major socio-economic impact in Ireland with absenteeism and reduced efficiency in the workplace, it also means that many people are suffering with pain and disability each day," she said.

A recent survey by the organisation found that one in five suffered regular back, neck and/or shoulder pain.

Chiropractors are to visit schools and workplaces to show exercises and give tips on how to protect the spine and stop people slouching.

She pointed out: "It is never too early or too late to start looking after your spine. It's hoped that over time everyone in Ireland will take a few minutes every day to care for their spinal health."

Exercise is a good way of preventing and reducing back pain. But anyone who has had back pain for more than six weeks is advised to talk to their doctor before starting any exercise programme. Exercises such as walking or swimming strengthen the muscles that support the back without putting strain on it.

Visit for more information on the Chiropractic Association of Ireland and Straighten Up Ireland Week.

Irish Independent

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