As someone who spends much of the day helping people whose lives are made miserable by a bad back, I would welcome a miracle cure.
But after ten years of working as an osteopath, I remain cynical about most of the products out there. Many have no scientific research supporting them, despite their huge prices.
If you develop back pain, take some painkillers and keep moving or your back will stiffen.
In rare cases, when a patient can’t even climb the stairs, I advise resting for no more than 48 hours.
If you suffer any trauma to your spine or shooting pains in the legs, seek medical help immediately.
Back pain usually gets better within three days. If it doesn’t, see a doctor.
It’s important to work with a registered osteopath or physiotherapist to decide the right approach for you.
And here is my pick of the products that really do help – but don’t cost the Earth.
A SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM
A high-tech TENS machine, this device passes electrical signals through adhesive pads into the lower back, which blocks the body’s pain signals. It also causes the muscles to contract, which increases blood flow to the area and stimulates healing. Many of my patients have experienced good results with a cheaper TENS machine too, available in most pharmacies from about £40.
Vitality muscle-stimulator, £449.99, compex.info
A poor mattress is thought to be the cause of one in ten cases of back pain. I recommend mattresses or toppers that are made of ‘memory foam’, which moulds to fit the back.
Double mattresses from £1,275, toppers from £429. uk.tempur.com
A poor mattress is responsible for one in ten back problems
CUSHION THE SPINE
Many people slump so that the spine curves outward, which compresses the lower back discs and weakens muscles.
The McKenzie Lumbar Roll is an inflatable cushion that nestles into the lower back, encouraging you to sit correctly with your spine curved inwards. It can be attached to chairs or car seats.
Original McKenzie Airback Lumbar Roll, £15.99, healthandcare.co.uk