Back Care Awareness Week (2nd – 8th October)

The annual Back Care Awareness Week, run by BackCare, the UK’s leading charity for those impacted by back or neck pain, is to take place between 2nd and 8th October. The theme this year is Back Pain in Education.

BackCare is UK’s national charity for back and neck pain since 1968. Back pain doesn’t kill, it tortures – destroying lives and livelihoods. It accounts for half of all chronic pain and is the leading cause of sickness absence from work. Help us stop back pain from destroying someone’s life today!

Back pain is one of the top common causes of absence from work throughout the country. It costs the UK economy around £15 billion every year as over four million working days are lost as a result of the condition. Furthermore, about 80% of the UK population will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives.

BackCare decided it was important to run a campaign targeted at children and young people as many of the back and neck pain problems experienced by adults are due to them not looking after their backs during childhood and teenage years.

Back pain is now the world’s leading cause of human disability. We believe prevention should begin at school. Back pain and related pain conditions account for a quarter of all UK sickness absence from work. Let’s not create another generation of back pain patients.

Dr Brian Hammond, the Chair of BackCare said:  “Early teaching of children and young people of the importance of taking care of their backs is bound to have a positive effect on the health of their backs as adults… there are simple things children and young people can do, such as sitting properly and not for too long, exercising regularly, stretching and lifting correctly. They also need to know how to carry their school books and equipment in a way that does not harm their back or neck.”

Back pain is the world’s leading cause of human disability

Back pain is the now the world’s leading cause of human disability and, together with related musculoskeletal conditions, accounts for a quarter of UK sickness absence. But contrary to popular belief, back pain is not just an adult problem.

One in four UK kids have regular daily back pain

In 2015, BackCare surveyed 900 secondary school pupils (11-16 years) across the UK, revealing that two thirds of UK secondary pupils have experienced back pain. One in four UK secondary pupils suffers from back pain regularly or every day – this was higher amongst girls (27%) than boys (19%). Neck and shoulder pain were also very common, affecting a similar number.

Heavy or tiring school bags = 10 times more back pain

School bag burden was found to be very common and strongly linked to back pain. Half of those surveyed said their school bag often or always felt tiring or too heavy for them. Back pain was ten times more common amongst pupils with heavy or tiring school bags.

Back pain almost doubled with more hours sitting

Pupils were also asked to estimate the number of hours they spend sitting per day in the classroom, at meal times, whilst travelling, when doing homework and during their free time. The survey revealed that UK secondary pupils sit for an average of nine hours per day. Back pain was almost doubled amongst pupils with higher than average sitting times. Studies have linked sitting for more than four hours per day with increased risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer, depression and dementia.

For more help, support and advise on how to reduce back or neck pain please contact the Health Assured counselling team or visit the Health and Wellbeing Portal www.healthassuredeap.com 

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