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EMBARGOED 00.01 16th OCTOBER 2008

- Children as young as six are falling victim to back pain according to new findings from The British Chiropractic Association -

A survey released today by The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) reveals that childhood back pain has reached an all time high in the UK.

Almost a third (32%) of 6 to 7 year olds are complaining of back pain.

The survey, conducted to coincide with World Spine Day (16th October), exposes that suffering is beginning at a young age, in line with ‘slouch potato’ lifestyles.

In 2002, 29% of 11-18 year olds were complaining of back pain. Now, in 2008, 45% children have already suffered some kind of back pain by the age of 11.

With back pain on such a dramatic increase in the UK, half term is a great opportunity to get outside and get active, but 45% of 6 to 15 year olds admit to spending the majority of their half terms playing computer games or watching TV.

Watching TV is the most popular half term pastime amongst 6 to 7 year olds with a quarter (25%) admitting to spending most of their time in front of the box.

8 to 9 year olds are the laziest age group, spending the least amount of time playing sports a week - nearly a tenth admit they don’t do any sport at all

The daily school routine is also taking its toll with 72% of the nation’s school children carrying around heavy books and sports equipment all day on their backs, which the BCA has called the ‘snail’ effect, where children carry their lives on their back.

And the bags they are carrying may be causing even more harm, with only just over a third (37%) of 6 to 15 year olds wearing a rucksack correctly on both shoulders.

In fact, almost two thirds of 6 to 15 year olds suffering from back pain continue to opt for other types of school bags over rucksacks.

It’s not just back pain that children are laying themselves open to. The nation’s ‘text obsessed’ adolescents are also putting themselves at risk of developing repetitive strain related injuries.

Nearly a quarter (24%) of 14-15 year olds are sending more than 10 text messages a day and, on average, 6 & 7 year olds are sending around 2 text messages a day.

Tim Hutchful from The British Chiropractic Association comments: “With children as young as six now complaining from back pain, this survey clearly highlights the alarming rate at which back pain is growing within the UK. There are simple steps parents can take such as checking that children aren’t carrying around unnecessary items in their bags and encouraging them to use a rucksack worn correctly on both shoulders.”

Tim continues: “But we are in no doubt that lack of exercise is children’s number one enemy. Half term is the perfect opportunity to get outside and do something active. We’d urge parents to help take steps to counteract back pain and, to help with this, the British Chiropractic Association has developed a very simple three minute exercise entitled ‘Straighten Up UK’ routine, which is really easy to incorporate 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:

World Spine Day, part of The Bone and Joint Decade Action Week, is designed to collectively promote activities that call international attention to the needs of people affected by musculoskeletal disorders and to promote a call to action on issues important to individual nations. The Bone & Joint Decade is a United Nations backed international multi-disciplinary initiative to improve the health-related quality of life for people with musculoskeletal conditions.

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 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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