Recent research from the British Chiropractic Association has found considerable differences in the numbers of back or neck pain sufferers across the UK.
The research has revealed that an enormous 47% of people in the south west suffer from back and neck pain and that the primary cause is lifting heavy objects and sitting for long periods of time… both of which, for many of us, are simply part of our lifestyle.
Lifting heavy objects can result in lower back pain, caused by injury to the joints, ligaments and/or muscles of the spine. Referred to as a lower back strain or sprain, this can be surprisingly painful and debilitating and may also result in pain radiating into the buttocks and legs.
Many of us have the type of lifestyle that requires sitting for a long period of time. For example, we may spend long hours sitting at a computer or in a car, and we are often unaware that we have poor posture that may be causing back and neck discomfort. Your spine is designed perfectly to act as a shock absorber and support the weight of your head when sitting in the correct upright position. If you sit for prolonged periods of time with a slouched posture, the muscles, joints and ligaments of the spine are put under excessive strain which, over time, can result in neck, shoulder or lower back pain.
Our posture can be affected by repeated movements such as the way you open the fridge every day, make a cup of tea or even tie your shoelaces. The little things are less likely to affect us, but impactful and prolonged movements such as sitting and picking up heavy items can.
What can you do to help back pain?
If you are one of the 47% of people in the south west suffering from back or neck pain, think about your daily activities and what might be at the root of your issue.
Simple exercises such as stretching and shoulder shrugging can help to improve your back health. The British Chiropractic Society have created a simple programme of easy lifestyle exercises to help relieve pain. *
- Our bodies are made to move and prolonged periods of sitting in the same position can lead to pain. Incorporating gentle exercise into your routine and moving around at least every 40 minutes are important for keeping your muscles active
- In the office, you should set up your desk to the correct position for you. If you don’t feel comfortable, try adjusting your seat height, or the position of your screen
- In your car, you should check your seat is in a comfortable position that is not increasing tension on your body on long journeys. Your seat and steering wheel should be adjusted to a comfortable position, your mirrors should allow you to see around the car with minimal head movements, and your seatbelt should sit on your shoulder –not down your arm or on your neck. Remember not to stay in this seated position for long periods of time, and get out of the car and walk around regularly. Whilst driving, you can practice shoulder shrugs and buttock clenches
- Warming up and down when you exercise is essential to ensure your joints and muscles are prepared for higher intensity movement, and prevent exercise related injuries, particularly if trying a new skill your body might be unaccustomed to
- When lifting heavy items, remember to bend your knees and keep a straight back to prevent injury. 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
- Carrying a heavy bag on one arm can put more strain on one side of the body than the other. Any bag that spreads equal weight on both shoulders, such as a backpack, is preferred. Adjust the straps of a bag to keep it as close to the back as possible which ensures weight is evenly distributed across the back.
*BCA Straightenup UK Visit www.chiropractic-uk.co.uk/stra... for more information