It’s BackCare Awareness Week! This year, from 8 – 12 October the National Back Pain Association is encouraging everybody to take care of their backs, providing advice and resources for those affected. In light of new research revealing that people in London are experiencing this pain more frequently, the team here at the Honor Oak Wellness Rooms can offer you simple, effective advice for preventing back or neck pain,
The consumer research, undertaken by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA), analysed trends in back and neck pain over the last five years. The findings showed the proportion of people in the region experiencing pain each week has risen from 39% to 44%.
The most common triggers for back and neck pain, a condition affecting 79% of Londoners, have also changed.
The number of people pointing to their job as the cause of their discomfort has risen, now affecting almost a fifth (19%) of the London population. The number of people who find driving contributes to their back pain has also increased by 6%.
Meanwhile, lifting and carrying heavy items, a trigger for 46% of Londoners’ back pain, remains the most commonly cited cause of the condition for the fifth year in a row.
Simon, chiropractor and founder of the Honor Oak Wellness Rooms and member of the BCA comments on the findings:
“I think many of us will agree that the increasing numbers of people experiencing back or neck pain each week are concerning, especially given how simple it can be to protect ourselves from some of the most commons triggers.
“Our lifestyles are becoming increasingly more sedentary, and in London many of us spend hours at a desk or stuck in traffic behind the wheel, contributing to people in the region experiencing pain more frequently. For the 44% of adults in London who are experiencing back or neck pain on a weekly basis, I would urge you to consider incorporating more exercise and general movement into your routine where you can to help combat the effects of sitting still.”
Simon provides six top tips to get people in London moving and to prevent back or neck pain:
1. Take a break: When sitting for long periods of time, whether you’re at work, driving or just catching up on box sets, ensure you stand up and move around every 30 minutes. Simple activities such as stretching and shoulder shrugging can also help to keep your body moving when you’re sitting for longer periods of time
2. Drive in comfort: When in the car for long periods, you can keep muscles active with buttock clenches, side bends, seat braces (pushing your hands into the steering wheel and your back into the seat) as well as shoulder shrugs and circles
3. Stay active: Physical activity can be beneficial for managing back pain, as a stronger body can cope better with the demands you make of it, however it’s important that if this is of a moderate to high intensity that you warm up and down properly to get your body ready to move! If a previous injury is causing you pain, adapt your exercise or seek some advice. Activities such as swimming, walking or yoga can be less demanding on your body while keeping you mobile!
4. Be computer compatible: When at work, make sure your desk is set up to support a comfortable position. This is different for everyone so if you don’t feel comfortable in your current set up, try altering the height of your chair or screen
5. Carry with care: While maintaining a strong body can help to prevent injuries, lifting and carrying in a safe way can help to prevent the leading cause of back and neck pain in London. Just as an athlete has to train to lift heavier weights, we should all only attempt to lift objects that we are able to without too much strain. If an item is particularly heavy then try to make use of available equipment which can help to take the load off your back, or reduce the load to smaller more manageable chunks
6. Straighten Up!: The BCA has created a programme of 3-minute exercises, Straighten Up UK, which can be slotted in to your daily schedule to help prevent back pain by promoting movement, balance, strength and flexibility in the spine
The BCA recommends that, if you are experiencing pain for more than a few days you should seek professional help, for example from a chiropractor, who can assess you and help you to get moving again without pain.
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