08/10/2013 06:21 BST | Updated 08/10/2013 06:21 BST

Back Care Awareness

Taking care of your back can be vital to your health and well-being.

Back pain can affect anyone at any age and most people will suffer from it at some point in their lives. It is the UK's leading cause of disability and one of the main reasons for work-related sickness absence.

The condition affects more than 1.1 million people in the UK, with 95% of patients suffering from problems affecting the lower back. Back pain currently costs the NHS and community care services more than £1 billion each year. Most lower back pain is caused not by serious damage or disease, but by sprains, muscle strains, minor injuries, or a pinched or irritated nerve. It can also occur during pregnancy, or because of stress, viral infection or a kidney infection.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines on best practice now recommends acupuncture as a first line treatment for persistent, non-specific low back pain.

A Natural Approach

In my practice I have found Acupuncture can help back problems by relieving the pain and inflammation. Muscular tension is reduced and joints can become more mobile. But the treatment is more than simply pain relief. Acupuncture treatments also work to strengthen and restore the back, enhancing the effect of appropriate rehabilitation exercises.

Here's the story of Steve's back pain:

I am 50 and work as a plumber. I have had back pain for around 30 years on and off. The first time I had back pain I was a plumbing apprentice and working up a ladder clearing a blocked soil pipe. I must have twisted awkwardly whilst using the drain rods and felt a sudden sharp pain. The shock was terrible. It was so intense I shall never forget it.

I found ways of working around the pain in everyday life, such avoiding sitting too long or standing in one position, sleeping lying on one side, trying to keep ahead of the ache, almost as if was following me.

I tried a variety of different treatments over time to ease the pain. I saw chiropractors and osteopaths which helped relieve the pain temporarily, but the nature of the treatments seemed extremely harsh and I was often left feeling beaten up.

I was moaning at work one day about my back ache and one of the blokes said that he recently had been to see Sue Kalicinska and had had acupuncture for his bad back. He said that it had been the only thing that had worked for him and recommended I should try it.

I was a bit apprehensive, but Sue put me at ease. The treatment was so relaxing and totally different to previous attempts at treatment. A few days after treatment I couldn't believe the result, my back felt so much looser. I was hooked!

Over the years I have continued to have acupuncture on a fairly regular basis and also for other ailments all of which seem to respond favourably to treatment. I will continue to have treatment and recommend acupuncture as it has helped to keep me fit enough to carry out my job, which is quite physical.

In this video you can see one of Steve's treatment sessions...