This is my perspective on this year’s Back Pain Show at Olympia Exhibition Hall.

My arrival on Friday morning was rushed, which is odd because I am so nearby. And my boiler was waiting for repair so I was keen to get someplace warm! I dashed with frozen fingers down the long Sinclair Gardens behind Olympia and passed the much-loved-services-cut (but not without a fight) overground station.  I was rushing so that I could get to the CPD session for healthcare professionals before having to work in the afternoon.

We were whisked to the second floor – instantly recognised as the location of the absolutely brilliant Boden outlet sale is every year !

  Now @TheBackPainShow – let the #CPD begin! Now where’s the coffee….

After I grabbed my coffee, I went to the CPD sessions and watched a video of a cervical discectomy and fusion of cervical vertebrae.  I’ll spare you the graphic details but if you are brave, look on YouTube. There was also a talk on the symptom of sciatica and its causes. The ‘piriformis syndrome’ had a mention – though I’m not sure it was particularly surprising, only six percent of people supposedly diagnosed and treated for ‘piriformis syndrome’ actually seem to have a discernable problem with piriformis.  Regardless, some seemed a bit unnerved at the thought it could be a bit of a ‘bucket diagnosis’.

Both talks were done by London neurosurgeons, and both were extremely appreciative and respectful of the absolutely key roles that primary care professionals such as osteopaths play in the management of neck pain and sciatica.

  ‘Physios and osteopaths often know more than we do…’ > love it! #backpainshow

  Neuro saying re sciatica : important to take a holistic view and not just treat symptoms…treat the *patient*

I was keen to hear the rest of the session, particularly on the Any Qualified Provider route to contracting with the NHS – but had to leave and do what I love – be an osteopath and help people!


Saturday morning:  woke up late courtesy of getting in late in the evening after a home visit in West London.  I had the morning to to explore the rest of the exhibition.  Post-requisite-cappucino I started to wander and talk to exhibitors and colleagues of all types:  osteopaths, GPs, consultants.  It was an eclectic show that had something to offer everyone, and though Saturday was busier than Friday was it wasn’t uncomfortably crowded.  The exhibitions ranged widely.  One member of the public was bemused there was a vacation/holiday exhibition in one area.  Although on first glance it might have seemed out of place, we osteopaths know the research on stress management in overall back pain management.  A relaxing holiday could be quite useful for someone who needs to take their stress down a notch.

Some of the exhibition was clearly geared to clinicians, such as MRI referral centres and exercise prescription services, and some was geared toward direct sale to the public (as well as possibly larger clinics), such as those selling seats and beds.  But it wasn’t all ‘sales’ – there were educational book stands geared toward all people, and there were both public and professional seminars on evidence based approaches to back pain.  In my view this is a great thing – however it did contrast starkly with some of the other exhibitor types.  If you wanted to see a bit of everything that some portion of the population of back pain found helpful in alleviating their pain, regardless of whether it was based on evidence or based on patient comfort, or both – this was the place to do it .

I had a lovely chat with the friendly people at Therapy Advertising about the benefits of marketing practices online – both for the professional as well as the person looking for an osteopath to help get them out of pain.  They gave me a brilliant deal on a listing and so now I’ll be listed alongside my nearest colleagues.

I was on the hunt for – and found – some wonderful re-useable heat packs manufactured by Heat in a Click . You click the tab within the shaped packet (generic shapes as well as ‘drape over your shoulder or back’ shapes) and it warms up.  They get hot but not overly so, and the temperature feels ‘safe’.  You re-set the pack by popping it on the radiator, into the dishwasher, or in hot water to ‘soften it’ after use, and it’s ready to be ‘clicked’ again.  I can’t tell you how many people I suggest short term heat treatment for alleviating pain – and for whatever reason some need an alternative to a product that can be heated in the microwave.  Everyone who knows me knows I don’t like ‘gear’ or selling ‘stuff’ –  But I liked these so much that I’ve added them to my ‘Commonly Requested Items‘ section of my Amazon shop.

I wandered around and chatted a bit more before heading to my favourite destination of this show:  The Healthy Back Bag Company.  I hate carrying things and sometimes a rucksack is not necessary or…well…too rucksacky.  Fine for ‘walk’ walks but not great for a situation where you want to look good at the other end.  These bags are fab! And I am not a ‘shopper’ and absolutely not a ‘bag’ person.  I only own one handbag (well, now three!)


My two new bags!

The Healthy Back Bags can be carried over either shoulder, or cross body – and they nestle nicely under your arm or in the small of your back.  Travelling I’ve used one slung around the front for extra security – you just pull it forward when you want extra care or to access the bag, with no fumbling with a shoulder bag.  I have had a purple ‘baglet’ for a long time (which incidentally can also be carried around the waist or clipped into the big bags).  That baglet carries my phone, keys, Oyster Card, other cards. I’m an avid photographer – it also (just) fits my more portable camera.   It is the perfect bag for going out shopping/into London etc.  Today I wanted to find myself a bigger bag and just couldn’t decide – they were on sale and so I came away with two of them!

After a bit more of a wander, I chatted to the lovely lady at the PhysioTools stall and discussed exercise prescription for a bit before I finally wandered off home.  It had started to flurry with snow – and for some reason Londoners get super cheerful when it starts to snow and I really like that.  It was a nice visit to the show – I met some nice colleagues, and found a few things that can really help my patients and did some ‘shopping’. All on my doorstep!

If you were at The Back Pain Show and need help with your pain, see your local osteopath Tracy Hannigan – phone 020 3143 3163 or book online today.