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Stand Corrected
Back Care Awareness Week runs from the 8 – 12 October and aims to shed light on the dos and don’ts of protecting your spine. Whether it’s our office chair causing us grief, an uncomfortable bed, lack of exercise leading to poor conditioning, or more seriously, bone diseases or slipped disks, we are all vulnerable to back pain, which in turn can have a profound effect on our daily lives.

So what can we do for back health? “My top tip is to move more. Prolonged sitting, however good your chair and desk set-up is, is hard to tolerate and so getting up and moving regularly during your day can make a big difference,” explains Claire Traynor, senior physiotherapist at Parkside Hospital in Wimbledon. “And make sure you do more general exercise every day, whether that is walking, cycling, sports, pilates: any activity is helpful to prevent back problems.”

According to Antony Chuter from Pain UK, we can safeguard against back injury in a myriad of simple ways: “Exercise and core strengthening can help protect your back. Learning to lift and carry appropriately is also good,” Antony explains. “Good posture when standing and sitting is also important.”

To spot the early signs of a back problem, Claire advises looking out for pain, weakness, tingling or numbness going down a leg, and even changes in your bladder or bowel function can be an early sign. 
www.backcare.org.uk

Breast Aware
Since tragically losing her youngest child, Rebecca, aged just 33, to breast cancer, Amanda Hobson Jones, from Wimbledon, has joined in the fight to help raise awareness of a disease which is diagnosed every ten minutes in the UK.

With October Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is hoped the message on being breast aware will reach more women. Amanda, a fundraiser for Breast Cancer Now, stresses the importance of checking yourself monthly to look out for potential early symptoms and advocates Breast Cancer Now’s self- check campaign – TLC - touch, look, check. Read about the symptoms: www.breastcancercare.org.uk

If you notice any changes, see your GP promptly. Most breast changes will not be cancer but early diagnosis is essential.

Says Amanda of her daughter, Rebecca: “She was so strong, determined, patient and always thinking of us, her family, during all those months of surgery and chemotherapy. Becs left us her legacy of courage and strength, an inspiration for me to know that she must not have died in vain and that I must try and help research into the disease for future generations, in her name and her memory.

“To underline the progress in unravelling the diagnosis and treatment of the disease, in the 15 years since Becs died, it is very possible that she would have survived the disease, had she been diagnosed now.”

The work Amanda has committed to the charity has undoubtedly supported countless people, helped many identify accurately, and kept the disease at the forefront of people’s minds. Showing our support, we too can stand in solidarity, and help increase awareness, research and ultimately, survival rates.

For fundraising and awareness-raising ideas to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Breast Cancer Care has a number of ideas online, such as holding a Big Pink party on 12 October, wearing pink at work, or holding a pink-themed bake day.