Hours of strain: Sleeping and sitting named as top triggers for back pain
October 2014 heralds the start of Back Care Awareness Week. This is a national initiative organised by the charity BackCare. The campaign aims to put the spotlight on the prevention of back and neck pain through good lifestyle choices such as posture and exercise.
This year the focus is on office workers. It is estimated that 7.6 million working days were lost due to work-related back pain and other musculo-skeletal disorders between 2010-2011, according to a recent NHS study.
Three quarters (73%) of people surveyed in the South West say they are currently experiencing back or neck pain or have done in the past. A quarter (25%) say they suffer on a daily basis*.
Surprisingly, it’s not strenuous exercise causing most back problems – 43% of respondents in the UK pin sleeping as their most common pain trigger and 44% said sitting is also a trigger.
In the UK, it seems modern lifestyle could be to blame; 82% of those surveyed say they spend up to six hours a day sitting in front of a computer screen and almost one in five (19%) spend more than 4 hours a day watching TV.
The team at Riviera Wellbeing Chiropractic and Wellness Centre in Paignton are keen to spread the word and help bring awareness to this often overlooked problem in the workplace.
“So many patients come to us, not as a result of injury, but as a result of too many hours spent at their desks” says Phoebe Bavin, Chiropractor and founder of Riviera Wellbeing.
“There are so many things that can be done to keep the spine healthy in an office environment, from checking that your workstation is set up correctly for you, to making sure that you get up and stretch at least every 30 minutes. Too many people ignore the early warning signs of discomfort, and don’t take action until they are in real pain”
Phoebe comments: “As a nation we’re becoming increasingly sedentary – whether it’s sitting at a desk or lounging on the sofa, hunching over a mobile device or lying in bed for too long, the effects of modern lifestyles are taking their toll. Understanding how to sit properly and keeping active will help improve posture, strengthen muscles and therefore reduce neck and back pain.
“With 35 million working days a year lost to back and neck related problems* it’s really important that people think about their back health when going about their daily business, and that they seek help from an expert if they are in pain to avoid more long term problems.”
Breakdown of a sedentary day:
73% spend more than six hours sleeping
28% spend over six hours sitting
33% spend between two and six hours looking at a laptop or tablet>
49% spend between two and six hours watching TV or a film
82% spend up to six hours a day sitting in front of a computer screen
TOP TIPS for maintaining a healthy back and neck:
- Sit up straight – keep arms relaxed and close to the body and place arms on the desk when typing. Make sure the top of the screen is level with the eyebrows and the chair is titled slightly forward, allowing for the knees to be lower than the hips and the feet to be flat on the floor.
- Keep moving – if sitting in the same position all day take regular breaks – ideally every 30 minutes. It’s good to stretch your arms, shrug your shoulders and move your fingers around – this helps to keep the muscles more relaxed.
- Switch off – try to limit the time you spend leaning over you mobile devices or with your laptop on your knees especially after a day spent in front of a screen, to help improve your posture and relieve neck strain.
- Sleep easy – test out your mattress before you buy it to find the perfect one and lie on your side rather than lying on your front with your neck twisted to one side.
To support the campaign, the team at Riviera Wellbeing Chiropractic and Wellness Centre will be offering free Chiropractic Consultations and discounted Sports Massage between 6 – 12th October for those people that work in an office or administration role. These appointments will be on a first come, first served’ basis, and are limited – so call now to secure yours!
*Taken from ONS Report ‘Sickness Absence in the Labour Market, February 2014’.
Research was commissioned in January 2014 on a sample of 2006 UK adults.
*Sample of 385 adults from the South West responded to the question ‘have you ever suffered from neck or back pain’ and 281 adults from the South West responded to the question ‘how often do you suffer from neck or back pain’.
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.
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.
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.