More than three out of four (76%) people surveyed in Shropshire have been suffering with neck or back pain for up to 10 years according to new research from the British Chiropractic Association, as many admit they don’t take proactive measures to look after their backs.
Now Jon Sharp from Shrewsbury Chiropractic Clinic is encouraging people to practice greater self-care and incorporate simple steps into their daily routine to help prevent back and neck pain before it causes longer term problems.
The new findings revealed that 43% of people of admit they have never done anything to actively protect their backs, and over a quarter (28%) of people in Shropshire have confessed that they have been unable to work due to their back or neck pain.
Over half (56%) think that sitting in the same position for long periods of time has the most negative impact on their back. However, despite recognising the source of pain, one in 10 (10%) of those who spend the day mainly in one position don’t take regular breaks.
In terms of what measures people would consider taking to protect their backs, 6% would see a trained health professional, but many more said they would try home remedies such as heat treatment (52%), rest (41%) or over the counter medication (36%) to solve their back or neck problems.
BCA chiropractor Jon Sharp, says: “As modern lifestyles put increasing amounts of strain on our backs and necks it’s becoming even more important for people to take proactive measures to protect their backs. Yet, we are seeing more and more people who have been struggling with back pain for longer periods of time.
“Prevention is always better than cure and it’s encouraging to see that some people told us they are taking steps to maintain a healthy posture, including limiting the amount of time they spend on laptops. However, there are a number of other simple processes that people can incorporate into their daily routine to reduce the effect that back and neck pain can have on their everyday lives. For example, people are often surprised at the positive impact that simply ensuring you take regular breaks when sitting for long periods of time, and keeping hydrated can have on your back.”
So, how can we battle back pain before it becomes a problem?
Jon offers the following top tips to help people keep back pain at bay:
- Stop the slouch: Relax when sitting into your seat, making sure you have your bottom against the seat back with your shoulder blades touching the back rest of the chair. For drivers; the back of the seat should be set slightly backwards, so that it feels natural and your elbows should be at a comfortable and relaxed angle for driving.
- Get up, stand up: Don’t sit for more than 20-30 minutes at a time – stand up to stretch, change position and walk around a little. If you struggle to get away then take time to gently massage the back of your head and neck as you relax your stomach region with slow easy breathing. This will help to improve posture and reduce back pain by promoting balance, strength and flexibility in the spine.
- Walk on: Adding just a few minutes walking to your daily routine could be of benefit. For example, walk to the shops instead of driving; try walking a little faster to boost the exercise benefit; take the stairs instead the lift.
- Drink up!: Try drinking water instead of tea or coffee; it will be healthier and keep your body hydrated.
For more information on how to maintain a healthy posture and help keep neck and back pain at bay, the BCA has developed ‘Straighten Up’ – a simple, three minute exercise programme for all ages, designed to help strengthen the spine and improve posture and help joints. To watch a video of the exercises you can do, please visit:
Shrewsbury Chiropractic Clinic
148 Copthorne Road
Notes to editors
- The research was carried out between: 07/01/2015 and 20/01/2015. Sample: 2,127 UK adults aged 18 – 65 by Opinion Matters on behalf of the British Chiropractic Association. Midlands sample size: 379.