As a DC, you’re already well aware of the spinal disorders prevalent with your particular patients.
But have you ever thought about spinal disorders around the globe, in geographical regions far, far away? If not, that’s okay because many researchers have.
Studies involving the global issue of spinal disorders
For instance, one study published in June 2015 in the Saudi Medical Journal looked at 1,669 patients at a Saudi university hospital.
After studying the individuals in that region, researchers concluded that lumbar spine disorders affected just over half (53 percent) of that population and cervical spine disorders accounted for 27 percent. Furthermore, they also found that cervical spondylosis occurred with relative frequency for patients over 30 years of age.
Another study was conducted in Hungary, some 3,440 air miles away, and published in International Orthopaedics. It looked at 10,000 people from that region and noted that slightly fewer, or 44 percent of the people studied, reportedly experienced pain in the lower back within the previous 30 days.
Additionally, this type of pain was found to create issues on a higher, more societal level as it contributed to one in five of these individuals not being able to go to work.
Based on studies such as these, it’s easy to see that spine-related issues are a global phenomenon with societal consequences. Thus, one day each year is set aside to draw attention to the worldwide prevalence of spinal disorders. It is called World Spine Day.
World Spine Day
World Spine Day is held on October 16th every year and its intent is to raise awareness about the high occurrence rates of spinal disorders. The reason this day in particular was chosen is because it is located within Bone and Joint Action Week which, according to the Bone and Joint Initiative USA, is October 12th through the 20th.
During this timeframe, events, and activities are held in an effort to focus on preventing and treating issues such as arthritis, back pain, and osteoporosis, as well as spinal conditions that occur as a result of some type of trauma.
Other bone and joint-related issues have their own day as well. For instance, October 12th is World Arthritis Day, the 17th is World Trauma Day, the 19th is World Pediatric Bone and Joint (cleverly referred to as PB&J) Day, and October 20th is World Osteoporosis Day.
In addition to each individual day being dedicated toward a particular bone or joint condition, there are also yearly themes. At least, there is for World Spine Day.
The 2016 World Spine Day theme
The 2016 World Spine Day theme is “Straighten Up and Move.” This theme was chosen due to the fact that people today aren’t as active as they could and should be for total spinal health, a societal change that is having consequences on our health as a whole.
Case in point: Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology published a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology in February of 2011 which looked at 30,000 men and women over the course of 10 to 13 years. They took into account how physically active these individuals were as well as how much pain they experienced in their lower back and neck or shoulder region.
Ultimately, the individuals who engaged in little to no physical activity reported higher amounts of chronic pain in one or both of these bodily regions.
On the contrary, individuals who were more physically active reported less pain, if any at all. This is important to realize as researchers also pointed out that “chronic musculoskeletal pain in the low back and neck/shoulders is a common cause of reduced quality of life, sick leave, and disability.”
Celebrating World Spine Day at your practice
There are many different ways you can celebrate World Spine Day 2016—“Straighten up and Move”—at your practice, thus raising your community’s awareness that physical activity is critical to optimal spinal health.
For instance, you could sponsor a 5k walk at a local nature trail or offer a free session of spine-strengthening yoga at a local gym or recreational center. You could also encourage your patients to be more active at home, giving them a discount off their next office visit if they share what they did.
Be creative and see what you can come up with. And if you’re on social media, you can share your ideas with World Spine Day on Twitter. That way, other DCs can benefit from your ingenuity!