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Top tips to tackle back pain

Responding to enquiries after Prime Minister Tony Blair's back injury, the CSP and a physio offer tips for those with back pain.


Following the news that Prime Minister Tony Blair is receiving treatment for a suspected slipped disc, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy has teamed up with physio expert Sammy Margo to offer a list of top tips for those with a similar condition.

'Back pain affects up to 8 out of 10 people at some stage in their lifetime and at least 50 per cent of those injuries will be disc related. The incidence of disc pain is most prevalent in those aged between 25 and 55,' Sammy said.

'Chartered physiotherapists see people with back problems on a day to day basis and a typical physiotherapist would see on average about six to eight back pain patients per day. Of those, around four present with disc related pain. Chartered physiotherapists are therefore ideally placed to treat this condition.'

Sammy has set out 5 top tips for those suffering disc related pain:

Respect the pain It is important to respect the pain. This means don't push yourself too far. You should get a physiotherapist's advice on the right course of treatment, rather than guess at what sort of treatment, exercises and activities, will help.

Active Rest Move little and often. Change positions to get comfortable, whether you are sitting, standing or lying down. You should try to do as much movement as possible, but always remember to respect the pain.

Position of Comfort Disc pain typically makes sitting uncomfortable, but that is not the case for everyone. Ensure you find the most comfortable position whenever you stand, sit or lie down. The way to do that is to ensure you are well supported in the most comfortable position, so use pillows, cushions or a lumbar support to help minimise the pain.

Ignore Lay Advice Because so many people suffer from back pain, you might get lots of friends and family trying to give you tips. But every sufferer's condition is different and what's good for them may not be good for you, so ignore opinions and wives tales from non-professionals.

Seek Professional Advice Always get advice from a trained clinical professional, such as a chartered physiotherapist. They will be able to give a proper assessment of your condition, a clinical diagnosis and start you on an appropriate treatment plan.

'Back pain is a common problem, it can strike at any time and affects people from all walks of life. At the first signs of back pain, seek advice, so it doesn't become a long-term problem,' Sammy says.

For more information please call the CSP press office on 020 7306 6616/6163/6628

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is the professional, educational and trade union body for the country's 45,000 chartered physiotherapists, physiotherapy students and assistants.

A full archive of earlier CSP press releases can be found by visiting


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