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With the bank holiday on the horizon, the coming weekend will no doubt be a combination of DIY, lazy lie ins and perhaps a spot of spring cleaning, but the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) reveals that, come Tuesday, these tasks may leave us lying flat on our back!

Research commissioned by the BCA shows that back pain in the UK has risen by a staggering 5% in just 12 months with over half (52%) of the British population currently suffering from back pain. And it’s often the normal day to day routine that can bring on back pain.

Four of the five top triggers of back pain in the UK are everyday activities which the nation is set to undertake over the Bank holiday break:

1. Lifting/Carrying
2. Bad posture
3. Housework/DIY
4. Sleeping
5. Exercise/sport/physical activities

So while it may be fun to have an extra day off work, back pain sufferers could end up having a longer time off work if they fall foul to back pain. 19% of the UK population has taken more than just a week off work because of back pain. And in the UK more than one in 20 sufferers has taken more than six months off work.

So why do Bank Holidays leave us on our backs? Tim Hutchful of the BCA “People look forward to a day off work so much that they tend to cram a great deal in to make the most of it. Unfortunately this more often than not means that they are over-exerting themselves with unaccustomed activity.”

To prevent yourself becoming a Bank Holiday victim, follow the BCA’s top tips to ensure your May Day bank holiday is free from injury:
• Carrying large light items is worse than carrying small heavy items, so if you are off to the local DIY store and buying heavy items like cement or soil – buy more smaller bags rather than one big bag. Smaller means it is easier and safer to carry.
• When you are lying still your back stiffens and is more prone to injury when you get up. If you are sleeping in a ‘foreign bed’ – take your own pillow
• Go for a swim - you are less likely to damage yourself whilst exercising in water than you are on the ground. But if you can’t be in water, drink plenty of H2O while exercising to avoid dehydration
• Treat gardening and DIY like any form of exercise – make sure you warm up and warm down afterwards
• If you are driving long distances - sitting down too long reduces the blood flow to the muscles and joints increasing incidence of pain. So take regular breaks when driving – stop and stretch your legs at least every two hours
• Pain is a warning sign – do not ignore it!

Across Europe, poor posture is the biggest cause of back pain and the BCA is educating people about how making a few simple lifestyle adjustments can help to reduce the risk of back pain as well as making you feel and look better.

The BCA has developed a very simple three minute exercise entitled ‘Straighten Up UK’ which can be incorporated into their daily lives to help strengthen the spine and improve posture.

The exercise routine is available to download from for more information call the BCA on 0118 950 5950 or visit


Sara Bailey/Sasha Mattus/Julie Doyle
Tel: 020 7632 2400

Notes to Editors

Research carried out between 25th February – 10th March 2008, base sample: 1,929

Chiropractic is a primary health-care profession that specialises in the diagnosis, treatment and overall management of conditions that are due to problems with the joints, ligaments, tendons and nerves of the body, particularly those of the spine.

The BCA represents well over 50% of UK chiropractors. Chiropractic is a statutorily regulated healthcare profession regulated by the General Chiropractic Council. Members of the BCA must abide by the GCC’s Code of Conduct and Standard of Proficiency. The association only accepts graduates who have gone through a minimum four-year full-time internationally accredited degree equivalent course at an internationally recognised college of chiropractic education. Chiropractic care offers hands on pain management and focuses on muscles, joints and nerves. Chiropractic is suitable for all ages and can help with a wide range of aches and pains from head to toe. Chiropractors use their hands to ‘adjust’ or ‘manipulate’ the spine and joints where signs of restriction in movement are found and can also involve working on muscles. This restores normal function to the affected muscles, joints and nerves allowing the body to then get on with the job of healing itself.

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