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Are you a spoon or a bridge? Help prevent back pain by identifying your side profile

7th December 2015

Click here to read some of the great coverage the Grayling team achieved on behalf of client, The British Chiropractic Association. 

  • The British Chiropractic Association says that we should learn about our side-shapes to help prevent back pain
  • Rather than worrying about a big bust or curvy hips, a side profile where the head leans forward could be the worst for your back

Experts are recommending that the shape of a woman's side profile could be used as an indicator of neck and back problems, and are today urging women to pay attention to their posture to help combat pain.


According to research from the British Chiropractic Association (BCA), the average age where women start to suffer from back or neck pain is 34. Women whose heads lean forward are most likely to be currently suffering from back or neck pain (58%), followed by those with an arched back (56%). Women whose heads lean forward are also the most likely to suffer from back or neck pain 'every day' (29%). Those with a flat back were the least likely to have experienced pain, with 21 per cent having remained pain-free.*

Although many women would recognise what category they fall into when it comes to the more traditional body shapes, knowing about their side-shapes is important too. BCA Chiropractor, Tim Hutchful, comments: "Rather than worrying about being an apple or an hourglass, we want people to think about what they look like from the side. Paying closer attention to your body’s side profile can really help to identify back or neck pain triggers."

What side-shape are you?

  • Spoon - flat back, rounded shoulders
  • Leaning tower - head leans forward  
  • Bridge - arched back
  • Flat-pack - flat back

With just over 25 per cent of women saying that a bout of back or neck pain can last for one to three days at a time, it is important to pinpoint what can be done to prevent it.  Fortunately, making changes to your posture doesn’t call for extreme dieting or exercise programmes. Tim Hutchful explains: "The perfect posture should give you a neutral side-on appearance, with your ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles in line.

"People who want to improve their back and neck pain symptoms through a better posture should try imagining they have a plumb line hanging straight from their ears to ankles - with everything in the middle sitting on the same line.

"One way to do this is to try standing in a relaxed way and then gently contracting the abdominal muscles. When sitting, the gravity line should pass thorough ear, shoulder and hip."

For more information on how to maintain a healthy posture and avoid triggering neck and back pain, visit the BCA website. The BCA has also developed a programme of simple stretches and exercises, designed to improve posture and help prevent back pain by promoting balance, strength and flexibility in the spine. 


BCA press enquiries – Natalie Andrews, Becky Riffel or Emily Howard.  

Tel: 0207 0257577 / Email:

Follow the BCA on Twitter @ChiropracticUK

Notes to editors:

Research was commissioned on behalf of the BCA with Opinion Matters in January 2015 on a sample of 1,219 UK Women.

*Out of all women with an arched back, a flat back, rounded shoulders, or head leaning forwards


  1. Chiropractors are spine care specialists and chiropractic is a primary contact health profession that specialises in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and management of many conditions that are due to problems with bones, joints, muscles and nerves, particularly those of the spine.
  2. The BCA is the largest and longest established association for chiropractors in the UK. Chiropractic is a statutorily regulated healthcare profession, regulated by the General Chiropractic Council (GCC). Members of the BCA must abide by the GCC’s Code of Conduct and Standard of Proficiency. The association only accepts from an internationally recognised college of chiropractic education.  Chiropractic care offers hands on pain management and focuses on muscles, joints and nerves.  Chiropractic is suitable for all ages and can help with a wide range of problems.
  3. Chiropractic treatment mainly involves safe, often gentle spinal manipulation to free joints in the spine or other areas of the body that are not moving properly. Apart from manipulation, chiropractors may use a wide variety of techniques including ice, heat, ultrasound, exercise and acupuncture as well as advice about posture.

Grayling Team

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