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Prince Harry breaks protocol by revealing King Charles' medical problems

Prince Harry discussed his father’s chronic neck and back pain in his sensational new memoir.

Detailing King Charles’s health problems, the Duke of Sussex wrote of how his father struggled with “constant pain in his neck and back”, which he credited in part to his father’s past polo injuries.

But Charles, 74, is not the only one in agony.

Here, MailOnline explains everything you need to know about the common disease that cripples the lives of millions around the world.

Prince Harry broke royal protocol in his Spare memoir, revealing his father suffered from neck and back pain

Prince Harry broke royal protocol in his Spare memoir, revealing his father suffered from neck and back pain

Chronic back pain – described as aching, hot, burning, stabbing or agony – affects approximately one in 13 adults, the data suggest.

And eight out of 10 people will experience back pain at some point in their lives.

It can be caused by a number of factors, including a pulled muscle, a herniated disc – when the soft tissue between the bones in your spine protrudes – and sciatica, which is a trapped nerve.

Charles himself slipped a disc in the early 1990s, which caused him to miss out on Royal Ascot in 1991.

Two years later he compounded the injury by falling from a horse at Windsor.

He agreed to play only for charity after warnings from his doctor that his condition could deteriorate if he continued to play competitively.

His signature walk – with his fingers intertwined behind his back – is considered a therapeutic trick to help relieve back pain.

But many cases of back pain — which usually go away on their own in a matter of weeks — aren’t triggered by an injury. Instead, stress, bad moods, and inactivity could be to blame.

Normal activity and movement when stressed, tense or tired can also increase the risk of pain as it makes the back more sensitive to movement.

Aging is not a cause of back pain, nor is poor posture or lifting and bending – although these are all widely held beliefs.

In extremely rare cases, back pain can be a sign of a more serious problem, such as cancer, infection, or a broken bone.

Back pain is rarely dangerous and unlikely to be linked to severe tissue damage or require patients to use a wheelchair, according to the NHS.

Staying active – even if it’s just walking – taking anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and using an ice or heat pack can ease back pain.

Staying in bed for longer periods will not help, however, even if patients experience some pain when moving and exercising.

Doctors say this is because the pain only reflects the body’s sensitivity – not the damage to a person’s back. The pain usually subsides with more activity.

Sufferers are advised to see their doctor if they do not improve within a few weeks of following these remedies.

Medical help should also be sought if the pain is bad enough for daily activities, gets worse over time or difficult to manage, says the NHS.

A doctor may prescribe pain relievers or other medications to relax your back muscles.

The Duke of Sussex, 38, described how King Charles III, suffers from old polo injuries and must have physical therapy every day

The Duke of Sussex, 38, described how King Charles III, suffers from old polo injuries and must have physical therapy every day

Charles, pictured here with Harry, was practicing headstands and begging people not to open the door and enter him.

Charles, pictured here with Harry, was practicing headstands and begging people not to open the door and enter him.

Reading between the lines, Harry hinted at his father's lack of privacy into his back and neck problems.

Reading between the lines, Harry hinted at his father’s lack of privacy into his back and neck problems.

At Spare, the Duke of Sussex revealed how at Sandringham his father would play with him and his brother, the Prince of Wales.

At Spare, the Duke of Sussex revealed how at Sandringham his father would play with him and his brother, the Prince of Wales.

Harry explains how he felt his father, King Charles III, stopped engaging in physical games, before he and William needed him to

Harry explains how he felt his father, King Charles III, stopped engaging in physical games, before he and William needed him to

SPARE, Prince Harry's memoir, will be published globally on January 10

SPARE, Prince Harry’s memoir, will be published globally on January 10

They may also refer back pain sufferers to physical therapy, manual therapy – where a trained therapist massages and moves the back muscles – or cognitive behavioral therapy to help cope with the pain.

Patients with long-term low back pain may be referred for a procedure to seal the nerves in the back so they stop sending pain signals.

But spinal injections, surgery, and strong medications are generally not a cure and are not considered effective for lasting pain relief.

And if the pain is caused by a specific medical condition – such as a herniated disc – surgery may be recommended.

Scans are generally not necessary for back pain sufferers as they rarely reveal the cause of back pain.

Despite the royal family notoriously not talking about their medical issues, Prince Harry has revealed Charles’s struggles in his book, which isn’t expected to be released until next week but was mistakenly published earlier in Spain.

He details how his father performed daily exercises, including handstands, “in his pants, leaning against the door or hanging from a bar like an expert acrobat.”

The father-of-two went further, hinting at Charles’ privacy about these workouts and health issues.

He wrote: ‘If you were to put your little finger on the handle, you would hear it beg from the other side: ‘No, no, don’t open it. My God, don’t you dare open it’. ‘

However, as Charles reached middle age, Harry remembered him becoming more ‘sedentary, more predictable’.

He refers to him as enjoying his routine and said that ‘he wasn’t your typical dad who would play ball relentlessly or throw you a ball until dark. He was that at one point.’

But, alluding to the fact that Charles was an older father, Harry detailed how “he stopped dabbling in these types of physical games a lot sooner” than he and William “could have needed.”

He wrote: ‘He didn’t want any more and was short of breath.’

The king has joked that ‘pieces of me keep falling off at regular intervals’.

It comes after Adele revealed her own battle with sciatica.

The condition occurs when the sciatic nerve — which runs from the lower back to the feet — becomes irritated or pinched.

Makes the lower leg, back of leg, foot, or toes painful, tingly, numb, or weak.

It usually only lasts four to six weeks.

The singer, 34, shared that she had ‘really bad sciatica’ during one of her Las Vegas performances last weekend.

She said she has to “rock these days” as a result.

SEE MORE INFORMATION:

Prince Harry claims his brother William physically attacked him after calling Meghan ‘difficult’ and ‘rude’ in 2019: the Duke of Sussex was ‘knocked to the ground’ and left hurt, he says as he classifies the relationship as a ‘catastrophe’ continuous’ in new book Spare

Please boys, don’t make my later years a misery’: Charles’ plea for war between William and Harry after Prince Philip’s funeral is revealed in the Duke of Sussex’s bombastic book

How did the left-wing Guardian get a leaked copy of Prince Harry’s Spare book? Red faces at Duke’s publishing house when a New York reporter receives a copy of the bombshell autobiography six days earlier

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