FOR 17 years, Anne Duck couldn't lead a normal lifestyle. Even holding her newborn son was a problem for the 51-year-old teacher.
Everyday tasks others took for granted, such as vacuuming, dusting, shopping, even pushing a shopping trolley, were difficult and painful. And travelling long-haul was out. The reason? Back pain.
"It started after the birth of my child Colin 17 years ago," recalls Anne. "My back felt weak after the birth and one day I was trying to get out of the car carrying the baby and I got stuck. I couldn't move. I couldn't get out or back in the car. My lower back just gave in.
"The pain initially was sporadic but it developed into being pretty constant after a while. It was a dull pain that increased in intensity as the day went on. A lot of people have isolated episodes but my pain was there all the time." Anne's back pain developed into a disc problem and, after an examination 12 years ago it was discovered she suffered from spina bifida occulta - a weakness in the spine - which had caused a disc lesion.
She continues: "Everything became difficult, even travelling in the car, and I had to make lifestyle changes. I had to give up cycling and exercise in general as it absolutely crippled me. Luckily my work meant I could move around or otherwise there would have been no way I could continue working."
Anne is not alone. Back pain affects some 17.3 million people in the UK, and every year an additional 3.5 million new sufferers succumb to the problem, costing the country £6 billion every year in benefits, treatments and lost working hours.
"Back problems are very, very common," says Jeffrey Knox of 21st Century Back Care in Mansfield Place. "There's not many people who go through life without any back problems, and many don't do anything about it."
Source - Scotsman