Prevent lasting pain and get back to basics

Laura Williams

Yesterday saw the start of Back Awareness Week, an initiative designed to promote awareness of back pain and its surrounding issues. It’s just as well, as research shows that over 80 per cent of Brits will experience low back pain at some point in their lives. Here are my top tips to keep your backs healthy for city types:

Although you’re unlikely to sustain any lasting damage from an oversized handbag, carrying anything much over ten pounds is thought to place excess strain on your back. If you must go for a single strap bag over the shoulder, at least ensure the strap is padded and wide. Also, backpacks may be uncool and wheelie cases may make fellow tube travellers homicidal, but at least you won’t be clogging up A&E with your frozen shoulder.

When Three Musketeers star Orlando Bloom broke his back, he thought he might never walk again. To stay as pain free as possible, he admits that Pilates, the regime with strong focus on the core muscles, is a must. Body Control Pilates, one of the UK’s leading Pilates organisations has launched Back4Good, a new initiative that provides a long-term solution to managing lower back pain. Their practitioners are experienced teachers but have undertaken extensive training exclusively related to exercise referral and low back pain. Visit for more info.

Whether that’s slouching instead of sitting, or twisting as you’re bending (a back no-no) there’s lots you can be doing in your daily life to prevent episodes of back pain. Try to avoid standing, bending or driving for long periods, too.

Sorry – I had to get it in. I don’t think anything will stress that poor spine quite like excess weight. Those with a high body mass index (BMI) are at greater risk for back, joint and muscle pain than their slim counterparts. Fact.