Watch Your Back

Recently, I attended a seminar about back pain organised by Alexandra Hospital. The turnout was overwhelming. From the questions posed to the speakers and the frustration on the faces of the audience, it is apparent that many people are troubled by chronic back pain and unable to find relieve for their problems.

Since back pain is such a common problem, I decided to find out more.

Back pain is a common condition faced by many today.  Technology today allows us to do many things at our figertips. Our lack of activity results in stiffness and other problems, including chronic back pain. 

  • At least 10-20% of adults experience back pain at any given time.
  • Back pain is generally not due to an illness or injury. You often recover naturally even without any medications.
  • Back pain presents differently in different people. Sometimes it comes on suddenly and is sharp in nature. At other times, it is a dull aching pain.
  • When your back pain lasts longer than 6 months, you have chronic back pain.

By nature, you should recover on your own without medication. But sometimes it gets so unbearable that you may wish to seek professional help to relieve your pain. You should see a doctor when you experience:

  • Severe back pain lasting longer than 6 weeks
  • Weakness or numbness in arms or legs
  • Pain shooting down your legs
  • Pain shooting down your neck and shoulders
  • Fever, feeling unwell, loss of weight
  • Has a fall or injury to your back

(Source: Health Promotion Consultancy, National Healthcare Group. Copyright 2002 by NHG)

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