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Back Pain and Prevention

Once a year, in October, the world is asked to consider the state of their spine. World Spine Day is held on the 16th of October and the reason for this global focus on spinal health is because back pain is the second most common reason people go to the doctor yet it is one of the most preventable illnesses.

thoracic_vertebraePrevention being better than cure, ensuring your spine is healthy is simply a matter of movement and exercise. The World Health Organisation says that “physical activity is a way to combat a range of health disorders including cardiovascular disease, obesity and, of course, musculoskeletal disorders.”

Dr. Elga Drews from the Namibian Chiropractic Association says, “as long as you don’t feel pain you take movement and pain-free motion for granted and are not really aware of what it means if the spine is not moving or functioning optimally.”

Spinal pain and disability can have a profound effect on a person’s overall health. Research has demonstrated that poor posture and inactivity are major contributors to the development of back pain and other spinal
disorders. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, one in four adults are not active enough and over 80% of the adolescent population is not active enough.

Dr. Drews notes that, “Your spine is healthy if the natural curves are easily maintained, you can move and function without pain, you have a certain flexibility like touching your toes or being able to do some sort of backbend, bend sideways and rotate around trunk easily without pain.  You can maintain a good posture without straining.”

maxresdefaultPain, according to Dr. Drews is, “the alarm signal that something is wrong and until the alarm goes off we live in apparent oblivious bliss.”

As a means to get people moving, a group of Namibians are this week launching a movement called Rise Namibia, together with the Namibian Chiropractic Association. Dr. Drews explains, “The Namibian Chiropractic Association has been promoting good postural habits and the Straighten Up Namibia exercises for many years.  We have run various projects like visiting schools and teaching children about back health, given public talks, been invited by various groups and companies to speak about ergonomics in daily life and particularly at the office.  Yet, year after year people do not seem to take looking after their spinal health seriously. As the theme for World Spine Day is “Straighten Up and Move” we thought of taking it further this year to inspire people to truly take up an exercise regime that can strengthen them and keep them flexible at the same time.”

Rise poster Oct.cdrThe movement is a collaboration of the Namibian Chiropractic Association and Yoga, Pilatus and Qi Gong, Dance teachers and more, to get Namibian’s moving.

On Saturday, 15th October 2016 at 9:00 am a free Yoga/Pilatus class combination will be given at The Village in Liliencron street, Windhoek. The class will include exercise to stretch and strengthen the core, back and hips.

Watch out for more information on the movement Rise Namibia, in next week’s edition of MYD Heart.