BackCare Awareness Week 3rd-9th October 2016
World Spine Day 16th October 2016
World Osteoporosis Day 20th October 2016
Treating back pain
Treatments for back pain vary depending on how long you have had the pain, how severe it is, and your individual needs and preferences.
The various treatments for back pain are outlined below. You can also read a summary of the pros and cons of the treatments for back pain, allowing you to compare your treatment options.
Short-term back pain
Initially, back pain is usually treated with over-the-counter painkillers and home treatments. Most people will experience a significant improvement in their symptoms within six weeks.
Top 10 tips for a healthy back, including lifting advice, how to sit properly and back-strengthening exercises.
- Exercise your back regularly – walking, swimming (especially backstroke) and using exercise bikes are all excellent ways to strengthen your back muscles.
- Always bend your knees and hips, not your back.
- Learn to lift heavy objects using the correct lifting technique.
- Carry larger loads in a comfortable rucksack using both shoulder straps, and avoid sling bags.
- Maintain a good posture – avoid slumping in your chair, hunching over a desk, or walking with your shoulders hunched.
- Try to take a short break from sitting every 30 minutes.
- Quit smoking – it’s thought smoking reduces the blood supply to the discs between the vertebrae, and this may lead to these discs degenerating.
- Lose any excess weight. Use our healthy weight calculator to find out if you’re a healthy weight for your height.
- Check that your bed provides the correct support and comfort for your weight and build, not just firmness.
- Learn relaxation techniques to help manage stress. Stress is a major cause of back pain.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break.
It’s a fairly common condition that affects around three million people in the UK. More than 300,000 people receive hospital treatment for fragility fractures (fractures that occur from standing height or less) every year as a result of osteoporosis.
Wrist fractures, hip fractures and fractures of the vertebrae (bones in the spine) are the most common type of breaks that affect people with osteoporosis. However, they can also occur in other bones, such as in the arm, ribs or pelvis.
There are usually no warnings you’ve developed osteoporosis and it’s often only diagnosed when a bone is fractured after even minor falls.
Your genes are responsible for determining your height and the strength of your skeleton, but lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise influence how healthy your bones are.
Regular exercise is essential. Adults aged 19 to 64 should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as cycling or fast walking, every week.
Weight-bearing exercise and resistance exercise are particularly important for improving bone density and helping to prevent osteoporosis.
As well as aerobic exercise, adults aged 19 to 64 should also do muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week by working all the major muscle groups, including the legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms.
If you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis, it’s a good idea to talk to your GP or health specialist before starting a new exercise programme to make sure it’s right for you.
Weight-bearing exercises are exercises where your feet and legs support your weight. High-impact weight-bearing exercises, such as running, skipping, dancing, aerobics, and even jumping up and down on the spot, are all useful ways to strengthen your muscles, ligaments and joints.
When exercising, wear footwear that provides your ankles and feet with adequate support, such as trainers or walking boots.
People over the age of 60 can also benefit from regular weight-bearing exercise. This can include brisk walking, keep-fit classes or a game of tennis. Swimming and cycling aren’t weight-bearing exercises, however.
Resistance exercises use muscle strength, where the action of the tendons pulling on the bones boosts bone strength. Examples include press-ups, weightlifting or using weight equipment at a gym.
If you’ve recently joined a gym or haven’t been for a while, your gym will probably offer you an induction. This involves being shown how to use the equipment and having exercise techniques recommended to you.
Always ask an instructor for help if you’re not sure how to use a piece of gym equipment or how to do a particular exercise.
Eating a healthy balanced diet is recommended for
everyone. It can help prevent many serious
health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and many forms of cancer, as well as osteoporosis.
Calcium is important for maintaining strong bones.
Adults need 700mg a day, which you should be able to get from your daily diet. Calcium-rich foods include leafy green vegetables, dried fruit, tofu and yoghurt.
Vitamin D is even more important for healthy bones and teeth because it helps your body absorb calcium. Without Vitamin D any Calcium you eat will just pass through your bowels. Vitamin D can be found in sunshine, eggs & oily fish. Milk also contains small quantities of Vitamin D, but a glass of milk a day is NOT enough Vitamin D for a healthy individual.
However, most vitamin D is made in the skin in response to sunlight. Short exposure to sunlight without wearing sunscreen (10 minutes twice a day) throughout the summer should provide you with enough vitamin D for the whole year.
Certain groups of people may be at risk of not getting enough vitamin D. These include:
- People who are housebound or particularly frail
- People with a poor diet
- People who keep covered up in sunlight because they wear total sun block or adhere to a certain dress code
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
If you’re at risk of not getting enough vitamin D through your diet or lifestyle, you can take a vitamin D supplement. For adults, a minimum of 10 micrograms a day of vitamin D is recommended (=400IU), but some recommend higher doses, particularly if you are vitamin D deficient. There is a high percentage of people in the general population, who are Vitamin D deficient and do not know.
The recommended amount for children is 7 micrograms for babies under six months, and 8.5 micrograms for children aged six months to three years. Talk to your GP for more information.
Other lifestyle factors that can help prevent osteoporosis include:
- Quitting smoking – smoking is associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis
- Limiting your alcohol intake – the recommended daily limit is 3-4 units of alcohol for men and 2-3 units for women; it’s also important to avoid binge drinking
Get some sun!
Between May and September, sunlight triggers the production of vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium.
This process helps strengthen teeth and bones, which in turn helps prevent conditions such as osteoporosis.
Year of Self Care
The Year of Self Care is about helping our residents take control of their health in 2016. It is a chance for us to all get involved and achieve something amazing this year.
Each month there will be a different self care theme – you can see the list on the ‘Calendar’ page. For example, in February we’ll be sending out information and advice on mental well-being, while in June we’ll be focusing on carer well-being. Keep an eye of this webpage and our @BFC_Health twitter feed.
We want to get more people, organisations and business involved in Self Care. So, if you would like us to promote your event, service or initiative, just get in touch. It doesn’t have to fit with the theme of the month – we will get your information out there at any time!
Also, get in touch if you’d like our help to set up and run a self care related event or project – just ask. We are always happy to get involved and make it a success.
Bracknell Forest Self-Care Guide:
The Bracknell Forest Self-Care guide provides information, advice and links to services related to long-term conditions and lifestyle factors. Each chapter has a video which gives a summary of the key messages on each topic.
The Long-Term Conditions Guide gives you practical information and signposting to services to help you manage your condition. Guides can be found for; Arthritis, Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Coronary Heart Disease, Dementia, Depression and anxiety, Diabetes, Falls, Hypertension and Stroke.
Lifestyle information is available on Alcohol, Diet and Nutrition, Physical Activity and Smoking.
All guides can be accessed through the Self-Care webpage:
This directory is for everyone who lives and works in and around Bracknell Forest. If you use adult social care, health care or other help and support services, if you fund your own support, or simply wish to find out more about what services and support are available in your local community, you can find all the information and advice in one place.
If you would like to find out about events and activities in the local community, you may also find the community directory helpful:
The Helping You Stay Independent Guide
The Helping You Stay Independent Guide lists activities, events and groups around Bracknell Forest that can support individuals to remain healthy and independent.
To view or download the Guide as a pdf please visit:
Did you know more than three million people in the UK work and also care for someone? Juggling work and care can be a challenge, but as a carer you have rights at work that can make this easier. There is support available to help you continue both working and caring. You have rights to request flexible working and to challenge decisions if you are not happy with the outcome. You may also have rights to various forms of time off. Your employer may offer other forms of support such as unpaid leave or telephone access to the person you are caring for during your working hours.
If you are an unpaid carer and appear to need support, you can ask for a carer’s assessment from Bracknell Forest Council to look at how you can be supported to carry on caring and look after your own wellbeing. The assessment will work out how you can be supported and whether you qualify for support from Bracknell Forest Council.
For more information:
- call the Carers UK’s Carers Line on 0808 808 7777 or visit carersuk.org
- contact Bracknell Forest Council Adult Social Care on 01344 351500 or visit bracknell-forest.gov.uk/carers
- visit the Carer’s Trust website carers.org
HealthMakers is a group of volunteers with long term health conditions living in Bracknell and Ascot who:
- Offer peer support to teach others how to manage their long term health conditions. So far our HealthMakers have made a difference to the lives of 50 people in Bracknell Forest
- Deliver training to help others become HealthMakers and make a difference
- Act as Patient Partners who work closely with local health services to improve patient care and quality of life
We know that patients with long term health conditions often face crisis with their health which can be frightening and can lead to a feeling of having lost control. We know that most patients want to have confidence in looking after themselves and in recognising the signs when they need help.
We are looking for people who want to make a difference for themselves and for others by becoming HealthMakers.
What will HealthMakers gain?
You’ll be trained in how to facilitate a self-management course and given all the content and knowledge needed to confidently deliver one, including:
- Goal setting,
- Anxiety management,
- How to facilitate a course,
- Public speaking,
- Problem solving, and
- Other optional modules
Once you’re trained, we’ll set your courses up so it fits with your availability but we do expect you to deliver at least two courses a year.
You’ll be able to claim expenses for your travel and any carer costs. If you’re a healthcare professional, we can cover any back fill costs and provide you with a certificate to evidence continued professional development (CPD).
We’re looking for people who:
- Have experienced living with a long term health condition
- Are willing to listen to and consider different view points
- Can provide constructive and ongoing feedback to others
- Can manage and plan your own time