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The Back Happy Tap Stand- Low Back Pain in rural Tibet.


 At a recent seminar Ailsa, Doug and Susan met Epidemiologist, Dr Damian Hoy leading author on the Global Burden of Disease, who shared with us his research that found Low Back Pain is the #1 disability in the world among 291 diagnoses. Here is one of his stories we found interesting. It doesn’t seem to matter where you’re from, there are always ways to reduce your pain.

Low back pain is a significant problem in low-income countries. In a prevalence study in 30 villages in rural Tibet (China), 34.1% of people complained of low back pain at the time of the interview. In Tibet many people especially women, identified low back pain as a serious health problem.  The collection of water, an activity primarily conducted by women, was found to be one of the major risk factors. In response to the study, training in prevention and management of low back pain was conducted to establish the prevalence of such pain to develop appropriate interventions.


It was discovered that villagers had substantial functional disability associated with low back pain and is likely to be an important and under recognized problem in rural societies like Tibet. As a consequence of this cross-sectional study of the prevalence of low back pain and related functional disability, the back happy tap-stand was designed and installed in more than 30 villages. The tap-stand has a high tap and waist-high bench, thereby reducing the need to bend the lower back when filling and lifting water containers. Many women rated the tap-stand as the most significant improvement to their lives in the previous three years. The back happy tap-stand eases women's burden when collecting water and has the potential to reduce the prevalence and associated disability of low back pain. 

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