Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Going Head over Heels for inflammatory back pain

Reading goes Head over Heels for inflammatory back pain

Increasing awareness of inflammatory low back pain in Reading

On Saturday 19th July 2014 I spent the day in Reading Town Center promoting awareness of inflammatory back pain to the public. Reading is the first site nationally for the Don't Turn Your Back on It campaign. This is a campaign backed by the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society (NASS).

Speaking to public on inflammatory back pain.
The children of parents were attracted to the 'dinosaur' spine.

The Don't Turn Your Back On It campaign came to Broad Street, Reading to help people suffering from chronic lower back pain to identify if the cause of their pain. Identifying inflammatory low back pain is the key to early diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Currently there is a still an average delay of 8.5 years from symptom onset to diagnosis of AS. With increase public awareness, this should help reduce delay in patients seeing their GPs for onward referral to a Rheumatologist for a diagnosis of AS.

A group of acrobats performed at the event to bring attention to the issue. This got the crowd thinking and talking about back pain seeing the acrobats bending and flexing their spines. We talked to hundreds of people and were interested to hear their individual stories.

Acrobats performing in the middle of Reading Town Center (Broad Street).

 It was a wonderful performance from the acrobats on a wonderful Saturday afternoon.
The rain stayed away despite the forecast of heavy showers!

Information leaflets on inflammatory back pain were handed out by the team on the day. This included Claire Harris, physiotherapy advisor at NASS and Chair of AStretch. Sally Dickinson from NASS was also on the stand along with NASS trustee Peter Wheatley-Price. I was also supported by Susan Hicks, specialist physiotherapist from the Royal Berkshire Hospital. 

The team on the day promoting awareness of inflammatory back pain in Reading.

The campaign hopes to help people suffering from chronic lower back pain  for more than 3 months and encouraged them to  visit the campaign website. Here they can complete a short symptom checker to assess if their back pain may be inflammatory. They are advised that the results can then be discussed with their GP. Further information about the campaign, types and causes of back pain and educational resources offering insights into the lives of people living with chronic back pain are also available on the website. 


Views are my own. These are opinions and not consultations. It cannot replace the need to see your physician for review of your individual medical condition.


  1. Well done. Great to see this happening after our own Sydney Don't Turn Your Back On It experience. Hope it spreads globally!

  2. Thanks Irwin. Great to have a link up in both hemispheres.