The Olympics and Paralympics are now over. I didn’t get any tickets to watch the events live but enjoyed watching the endeavours of the athletes on TV, seeing such commitment and hard work was impressive. I also watch sport from my practitioner standpoint of seeing how the injuries that walk into my practice are made! It is no surprise how well the Chinese athletes performed in the games but less well known is their secrete weapon – acupuncture. This, and its related therapies such as herbs, are used by the Chinese Olympic team for sports related injuries and ailments. Acupuncture not only provides immediate first aid help for injuries but also accelerates the process of healing; over time this can improve performance. Even our own athletes are using acupuncture more. Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy who has acupuncture says,
“Over the years acupuncture and deep tissue massage have formed an integral part of my physical therapy routine. I have found it incredibly effective for both injury treatment and prevention.”
You don’t need to be an Olympian to make the most of acupuncture though. New research suggests younger people are experiencing more back problems.
Back pain is no longer just the curse of middle age according to new research released today by my professional body, the British Acupuncture Council, as 1 in 3 people under the age of 35 admit to constantly suffering with the condition. The independent study, in which 1,000 UK men and women were questioned, was carried out to mark Back Care Awareness Week which takes place 8th – 12th October.
Its common knowledge that the UK is a nation of pill poppers and this research supports that nearly half of those polled (48%) admit they rely on painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs to deal with their back pain. Over 12% however prefer the natural route using acupuncture and massage to get relief. Surprisingly 15% have not sought any professional help and ignored their back pain, whilst 4% suffer in silence because they don’t know how to deal with it.
In my practice, I tend to commonly see people aged 35 and over, with more long-standing chronic aches and pains. It’s clear from the research that back pain can have a significant effect on our wellbeing and much of the nation is relying on over-the-counter or prescription medication to cope with it. However there are proven, natural ways to combat the pain including acupuncture, without the potential side-effects of drugs. In fact the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends acupuncture for patients with persistent low back pain. If you have a friend or relative with back pain, let them know. Acupuncture may be able to help them.