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Prioritising your back health

10 million people in the UK currently have back pain

Back pain is more common than you’d think, with recent data showing that 80% of the nation will experience back pain at some point in their lifetime. Did you know there’s currently 10 million people in the UK living with back pain? What’s more, research from the British Chiropractic Association found that cases of back pain rose by a third during the pandemic and resulting lockdowns. Despite this increase, only 10% of people experiencing symptoms sought support from a GP or chiropractor, with 46% of people not taking any steps at all to tackle their back pain, indicating a large portion of the population is still living with daily symptoms into 2022.

Whilst these numbers may seem high, by taking a few simple steps as part of your daily routine evidence shows that symptoms and the risk of developing a more challenging musculoskeletal condition can be reduced.

Here are our top tips that anyone can take to support their back health:

Start the day right and keep on moving: Physical activity can be beneficial for managing back pain, so aim to incorporate at least 30minutes of movement into your day. It is 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!

Take a break: If you sit for long periods of time as part of your job, ensure you stand up and move around every 30 minutes – particularly so for hybrid work set ups and working from home if you don’t have ergonomic office equipment. It only needs to be a minute long and it doesn't need to be formal stretching, it is about getting movement through the muscles so go grab a drink, ask that question in person instead of sending an email or just walk around your desk.

Lifting and carrying: If your job requires lifting or you’re taking on DIY or spring-cleaning projects this Easter, remember to bend from the knees, not the waist when lifting heavy items. Face in the direction of movement and take your time. Hold the object as close to your body as possible, and where you can avoid carrying objects which are too heavy to manage alone, ask for help or use the necessary equipment.

Sleep comfortably: The Sleep Council recommends buying a new mattress at least every seven years. Mattresses lose their support over time, so if you can feel the springs through your mattress, or the mattress is no longer level, your mattress is no longer providing the support you need. Everyone has different support requirements, so when purchasing your mattress ensure it is supportive for you. If you share a bed and require different mattress types, consider two single mattresses which are designed to be joined together, to ensure you both get the support you need.

Seek out support: If your symptoms of back or joint pain prevent you from carrying out your daily activities or have not resolved within two weeks, see a chiropractor for advice. We will take a detailed history, examine you and then explain the cause of your problem. Usually we can then work with you to reduce your symptoms and get you moving again. We do not have a magic wand (sad but true), so very occasionally imaging is required and or possibly onward referral.

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