independent

Wednesday 16 October 2019

YOUR health

EIGHTY PER CENT OF ADULTS GET BACK PAIN – AND MORE AND MORE CHILDREN ARE JOINING THEM

FREE HEALTH PULLOUT

TWELVE PAGES OF HEALTHY LIVING, WELLBEING AND MEDICAL ADVICE THE IMPORTANCE of good posture can never be overestimated.

That is according to Dr Siobhán Guiry, the president of the Chiropractic Association of Ireland, speaking in the wake of Straighten Up Ireland week, where she together with her fellow Chiropractors aimed to focus on improving the nation's overall spinal health and posture to combat back problems.

'Back pain is not normal,' explained Siobhán. 'People do not realise the importance of posture and the fact that they can often be in control of their own spinal health and wellbeing,' she added.

Meeting with Siobhán, some alarming figures highlighting the prevalence of back pain in adults but also in children were brought to light.

Siobhán explains how research estimates around 30 per cent of adults are suffering from back pain at any one time and somewhere around 80 per cent of the population has suffered back pain at some time in their adult hood. Worryingly recent studies have also found that back pain is an increasingly common occurrence among school children and adolescents.

At the crux of the chiropractic industry is back pain, which can be helped or often prevented by taking heed of our posture when standing, sitting and even sleeping.

'As a result of poor posture and resulting back pain, millions of euro is wasted in Ireland every year due to a decreased ability to work efficiently, absenteeism, not to mention the pain and disability that people go through,' explained Siobhán.

Not only does lower back pain have a tremendous impact on the sufferer, it is a major socioeconomic burden, according to Siobhán, who highlights that it is one of the leading causes of visits made to GPs and the most common reason for missed work.

People are experiencing greater levels of spinal discomfort and disability related to stress and poor posture in more recent years with the advent of technology as people lead more sedentary lifestyles. Many people now commonly work and play in cramped, awkward, slouched positions, while watching TV, working

on computers and playing game consoles resulting in poor posture.

Improving your posture lies in changing your lifestyle, according to Siobhán. However, this is best targeted at younger generations.

'Getting children at a young age to develop good posture and techniques will lessen the impact of them developing back pain in the future,' explained Siobhán.

At her New Ross chiropractic clinic, Siobhán is witnessing more children presenting with back pain and at times children account for up to 30 per cent of her client base.

'Definitely clients are getting younger,' said Siobhán, who is currently treating children as young as six for back related problems.

With children, schoolbags are one of the main causes of poor posture. Weight carried in their schoolbags is often 30 and even a staggering 40 per cent of their own body weight despite recommendations that schoolbags should not exceed 10 to 15 per cent.

'Carrying such a heavy school bag causes forward leaning and bad posture, which can lead to improper weight bearing on the spine and pains and aches in the back and shoulders,' said Siobhán, who explained that if a schoolbag weighs over 15 per cent of the child's body weight they simply cannot maintain proper standing posture.

Children who use only one strap can cause imbalanced weight distribution and sideways deviation of the spine, while forward bending of the spine, due to the excessive weight of the bags, makes children's breathing harder. According to Siobhán, a recent study has found that children carrying bags weighing more than 10 per cent of their body weight have been found to have poorer lung function.

There are a number of warning signs parents should look out for, such as the child changing posture when wearing the backpack, if they are struggling putting it on or taking it off, if they have red marks on their shoulders, if they experience neck, shoulder or back pain or if they experience tingling and numbness in the arms and hands.

In a bid to counteract the effects of carrying weighty bags, Siobhán advises children to wear bags with a padded back, with hip and chest belts, with broad padded or 's' shaped straps and with multiple compartments in order to better distribute weight – in an ideal world a wheelie or trolley bag would be best.

When wearing schoolbags heaviest items should be placed closest to the back, children should wear both straps, the bag should rest evenly in the middle of the back and not below the hips and children should bend at the knees with their back straight when lifting the bag.

However, even after years of incorrect posture, it is never too late for adults to make a number of simple changes to improve their spinal health.

'It is never too late,' said Siobhán, who explained that incorporating a number of lifestyle changes can help bring about significant benefits in improving your posture.

As part of the Straighten Up Ireland initiative, Siobhán firmly believes that the simple, fun, everyday exercises as part of their three minute posture care programme reaps rewards.

'They act to improve posture, stabilise core muscles, enhance health and help prevent spinal disability,' said Siobhán, who explained that the exercises can be undertaken by young and old, with a special programme tailored especially for children.

'We want to empower people to invest three minutes a day in their overall spinal health and wellbeing,' added Siobhán, who highlighted that with these 'Straighten Up' exercises, after only five weeks of daily use, 83 per cent of participants reported improved posture, 78 per cent felt their core muscle strength had improved and 80 per cent reported sitting and standing straighter with a drastic reduction in back, neck and shoulder pain.

'It is shown to be effective and simple,' said Siobhán.

Looking to the future Siobhán hopes for a day when everyone performs these short threeminute exercises as routinely as we brush our teeth.

For details of both the adult and children's 'Straighten Up' exercises visit chiropractic.ie. THE IMPORTANCE of good posture can never be overestimated.

That is according to Dr Siobhán Guiry, the president of the Chiropractic Association of Ireland, speaking in the wake of Straighten Up Ireland week, where she together with her fellow Chiropractors aimed to focus on improving the nation's overall spinal health and posture to combat back problems.

'Back pain is not normal,' explained Siobhán. 'People do not realise the importance of posture and the fact that they can often be in control of their own spinal health and wellbeing,' she added.

Meeting with Siobhán, some alarming figures highlighting the prevalence of back pain in adults but also in children were brought to light.

Siobhán explains how research estimates around 30 per cent of adults are suffering from back pain at any one time and somewhere around 80 per cent of the population has suffered back pain at some time in their adult hood. Worryingly recent studies have also found that back pain is an increasingly common occurrence among school children and adolescents.

At the crux of the chiropractic industry is back pain, which can be helped or often prevented by taking heed of our posture when standing, sitting and even sleeping.

'As a result of poor posture and resulting back pain, millions of euro is wasted in Ireland every year due to a decreased ability to work efficiently, absenteeism, not to mention the pain and disability that people go through,' explained Siobhán.

Not only does lower back pain have a tremendous impact on the sufferer, it is a major socioeconomic burden, according to Siobhán, who highlights that it is one of the leading causes of visits made to GPs and the most common reason for missed work.

People are experiencing greater levels of spinal discomfort and disability related to stress and poor posture in more recent years with the advent of technology as people lead more sedentary lifestyles. Many people now commonly work and play in cramped, awkward, slouched positions, while watching TV, working

on computers and playing game consoles resulting in poor posture.

Improving your posture lies in changing your lifestyle, according to Siobhán. However, this is best targeted at younger generations.

'Getting children at a young age to develop good posture and techniques will lessen the impact of them developing back pain in the future,' explained Siobhán.

At her New Ross chiropractic clinic, Siobhán is witnessing more children presenting with back pain and at times children account for up to 30 per cent of her client base.

'Definitely clients are getting younger,' said Siobhán, who is currently treating children as young as six for back related problems.

With children, schoolbags are one of the main causes of poor posture. Weight carried in their schoolbags is often 30 and even a staggering 40 per cent of their own body weight despite recommendations that schoolbags should not exceed 10 to 15 per cent.

'Carrying such a heavy school bag causes forward leaning and bad posture, which can lead to improper weight bearing on the spine and pains and aches in the back and shoulders,' said Siobhán, who explained that if a schoolbag weighs over 15 per cent of the child's body weight they simply cannot maintain proper standing posture.

Children who use only one strap can cause imbalanced weight distribution and sideways deviation of the spine, while forward bending of the spine, due to the excessive weight of the bags, makes children's breathing harder. According to Siobhán, a recent study has found that children carrying bags weighing more than 10 per cent of their body weight have been found to have poorer lung function.

There are a number of warning signs parents should look out for, such as the child changing posture when wearing the backpack, if they are struggling putting it on or taking it off, if they have red marks on their shoulders, if they experience neck, shoulder or back pain or if they experience tingling and numbness in the arms and hands.

In a bid to counteract the effects of carrying weighty bags, Siobhán advises children to wear bags with a padded back, with hip and chest belts, with broad padded or 's' shaped straps and with multiple compartments in order to better distribute weight – in an ideal world a wheelie or trolley bag would be best.

When wearing schoolbags heaviest items should be placed closest to the back, children should wear both straps, the bag should rest evenly in the middle of the back and not below the hips and children should bend at the knees with their back straight when lifting the bag.

However, even after years of incorrect posture, it is never too late for adults to make a number of simple changes to improve their spinal health.

'It is never too late,' said Siobhán, who explained that incorporating a number of lifestyle changes can help bring about significant benefits in improving your posture.

As part of the Straighten Up Ireland initiative, Siobhán firmly believes that the simple, fun, everyday exercises as part of their three minute posture care programme reaps rewards.

'They act to improve posture, stabilise core muscles, enhance health and help prevent spinal disability,' said Siobhán, who explained that the exercises can be undertaken by young and old, with a special programme tailored especially for children.

'We want to empower people to invest three minutes a day in their overall spinal health and wellbeing,' added Siobhán, who highlighted that with these 'Straighten Up' exercises, after only five weeks of daily use, 83 per cent of participants reported improved posture, 78 per cent felt their core muscle strength had improved and 80 per cent reported sitting and standing straighter with a drastic reduction in back, neck and shoulder pain.

'It is shown to be effective and simple,' said Siobhán.

Looking to the future Siobhán hopes for a day when everyone performs these short threeminute exercises as routinely as we brush our teeth.

For details of both the adult and children's 'Straighten Up' exercises visit chiropractic.ie.

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