back painNational Pain Week is a yearly event that will take place from 21 to 27 July this year. The theme of National Pain Week 2014 is “Pain is Ageless.” Pain can strike anyone, at any age, and when it becomes chronic, can create more than just pain management problems. There is a social stigma attached to chronic pain and sufferers often have to struggle with both their pain and their desire to be contributing members of society and not reliant on their caregivers.

National Pain Week was launched by Chronic Pain Australia in July of 2011. A volunteer organisation, Chronic Pain Australia is dedicated to increasing public awareness of chronic pain and supporting those who suffer from chronic and persistent pain.  The organisation’s key goals, as stated on their website, are to:

  • Improve Australia’s knowledge and understanding of chronic pain;
  • Promote better understanding of chronic pain in the health professional community; and
  • Work towards supported self-management of chronic pain.

National Pain Week is an outgrowth of these goals and the success of the inaugural week in 2011 came as a surprise even to the organisers. The media attention they received was phenomenal. Over 5 million media impressions in Australia and overseas is testament to the fact that chronic and persistent pain is an issue of importance to all of us.

Focus on Spinal Pain

Spinal pain is one of the most common types of pain. According to a 2007 report by the American Academy of Physicians, 90% of adults experience spinal pain at some time in their lives and  50% of working adults experience spinal pain every year. A 2010 study published by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation goes even further, reporting that spinal pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide.

Spinal pain can originate from muscles, nerves, bones, joints or other spinal structures.  It can range from dull to sharp, be constant or intermittent, appear localised or travel to other regions of the body.  Causes of spinal pain include:

  • Muscular strain
  • Spinal misalignment
  • Musculoskeletal injury
  • Disease

Chiropractors receive extensive training in the most up-to-date methods of determining the causes of spinal pain and appropriate treatments and techniques for alleviating the pain.

After reviewing available information and research produced over a 20 year period,  international research group, the Cochrane Collaboration concluded that there are three effective treatments for spinal pain:

  1. Heat therapy
  2. Acupressure
  3. Spinal adjustments (chiropractic)

A visit to a chiropractor at the onset of spinal pain can benefit you in a number of ways. After assessing your condition, a qualified chiropractor can recommend exercises, chiropractic treatment or, if needed, refer you to another health practitioner if they feel their treatment will be more effective.

Of course, prevention is always better than cure. Spinal pain is often a preventable disorder. With regular chiropractic adjustments and informed self-management and back care, you may be able to avoid becoming one of those 50% of working adults who experience spinal pain on an annual basis.