Posted on October 08, 2020 by Jenny Cromack

This week is Back Care Awareness Week! So it only feels right to speak up about back pain, the commonness of it, potential causes and risk factors!

Back pain is, unfortunately, a very common condition. 1 in 7 general practice consultations are associated with back pain and 3.4 million working days were lost in 2016-17 due to work related back pain.

Suffering with back pain, especially chronic back pain, can lead to several risk factors such as:

  • poor / reduced quality of life
  • mobility issues
  • long term disabilities
  • time off work
  • associated mental health issues due to the above risk factors

Back pain is one of the most common causes of disability in the working population therefore impacting overall work productivity and lack of attendance.

But sadly, it goes beyond that. It is known that 1 in 4 children in the UK suffer with daily back pain. It has been found that school bag weight has been strongly linked with back pain as well as long hours of sitting a day.

There could be a huge number of reasons why someone may be suffering with back pain, but one of the biggest common factors is that people are not moving as often as they should. The body isn’t designed for sitting for long hours, it is designed to move! If you have a job where you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk then we would recommend that you get up at regular intervals during the day and have a little walk around and move!

When it comes to addressing back pain, first we should look at lifestyle habits, how many hours do we spend sitting, the type of work you do, activity levels and so on. Sedentary living can lead to muscle deterioration, poor posture, and decreased spine stability which can result in chronic lower back pain. So, if this is the case for you, the best place to start is walk more! Walking is not only a low impact and an extremely accessible exercise, but it allows proper spine stability due to the engagement of numerous muscles that help support you whilst you walk.

How To Start

If you are extremely inactive, begin with short distances and short time periods of about 10-15 minutes at a time the gradually increase and progress when you feel you can do so. We suggest adding 5 minutes each week. Begin with a pace you feel comfortable with and then increase your pace as you get fitter, to one where you can feel your heart rate and breathing rate increase.

Research shows exercise can improve back strength, mobility, endurance, and functional disability resulting in preventing or reducing the risk of the development of chronic back pain. Exercises such as stabilisation exercises, core exercises, walking, lumbar flexion, bracing and motor control can all help.  Lumbar stabilisation exercises aim to improve neuromuscular control, strength and endurance of the muscles that support the maintenance of dynamic and trunk stability.

Here is a great workout for helping with back pain and also 5 essential exercises for managing back pain.

If there is one thing to take from this blog, then hopefully that’s to get out and walk more!