Health Matters with Mark Shepherd

A NEW study shows we are risking a back pain epidemic caused by unhealthy habits and sedentary lifestyles.

The findings from a study by the British Acupuncture Council to mark Acupuncture Awareness Week (March 3 to March 10) show that in the south east, 76 per cent of people have suffered with back pain yet admit to behaviours that put their backs under unnecessary strain reoccurring problems.

For a third of us, it keeps us regularly awake at night.

The study found that half of us in the south east admit to eating on their lap, nearly 40 per cent complain they sit at a desk all day and nearly a third of us admit to watching TV or films in bed.

When asked about their posture, nearly 40 per cent in the south east also admitted they slouch most of the time.

Further results reveal that when it comes to dealing with back pain, around 80 per cent of us say they have used painkillers, around 13 per cent have used prescription drugs and around three-and-a-half per cent have had an epidural to deal with their discomfort.

It is important to consider the combined underlying causes of back pain.

By stimulating different points of the body, traditional acupuncture can be extremely beneficial for back pain, providing long-term pain relief and reducing inflammation.

With 2.3m acupuncture treatments carried out each year, traditional acupuncture is one of the most popular complementary therapies practised in the UK today.

Based on ancient principles which go back nearly 2,000 years, acupuncture involves placing extremely fine, sterile needles painlessly at specific points on the body to trigger a healing response.

Despite acupuncture’s widely-recognised health benefits, many of us are missing the point when it comes to this ancient Chinese medicine.

Statistics show 41 per cent of us in the south would only consider acupuncture as a last resort and 90 per cent of us didn’t know the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends the therapy for persistent, non-specific lower back pain.

I find that many patients opt for the painkiller route before turning to acupuncture.

Simple lifestyle changes alongside acupuncture could benefit millions of people taking medication every day.

It’s important to recognise the impact our behaviour has on our bodies and to make sure we are fully informed about all treatment options to promote long-term health and wellbeing.

The focus of traditional acupuncture is on you as an individual rather than just the pain and within acupuncture, there are many treatment options that can be explored.

Acupuncture Awareness Week is a national event raising awareness of traditional acupuncture and includes a testimonial of a celebrity who has found benefit from acupuncture.

This year it is Camilla Dallerup from Strictly Come Dancing.

To find out more about traditional acupuncture visit or feel free to visit my website or call me.

Mark Shepherd

07517 422 447