Back Care Awareness Week (3rd – 7th October)

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Health Assured team

29 September 2016

Back pain is common and affects around one-third of the adult population each year. 

Back pain is rarely caused by serious disease or damage. It can be caused by a wide variety of factors such as poor posture, driving for long periods, playing sport, overuse during exercise, lifting, carrying or pushing heavy objects, overstretching or a combination of numerous factors. Amid the stresses of working life it can be difficult to say what exactly has caused your back pain. As we use our backs for almost everything we do, the pain can often spread to other related areas such as our legs or hips- this is called sciatica. If you do have back pain you should always consult your GP, as everyone is different and will experience different types and levels of back pain. Thankfully, 90% of people suffering from acute back pain do recover within six weeks. Contrary to what you might expect, this recovery is helped by keeping active, staying at work and trying to do things as normally as possible, even if you have to modify things at first. Taking painkillers can help you to stay active, take your mind off the pain and stay positive. It is important not to stay in one position for too long; move about regularly and have a stretch. Start by trying this every 15 minutes, then increase this gradually as the pain settles. The spine is designed to move, so normal movement is healthy and prevents stiffness or weaknesses from developing, helping to ease the pain. You can keep your back healthy with the following tips:
  • Exercise regularly. You can access many yoga tutorials for back pain online
  • Always bend your knees and hips, not your back
  • Learn to lift heavy objects using the correct lifting technique
  • Maintain a good posture – avoid slumping in your chair or hunching over a desk
  • Ensure computer screens are positioned at eye level and do not require you to hunch over your desk
  • Quit smoking – it’s thought smoking reduces the blood supply to the discs between the vertebrae, and this may lead to these discs degenerating
  • Learn some relaxation techniques- believe it or not, stress and tension can be a major cause of back pain.
For more information on how to relieve stress please contact the Health Assured counselling team or visit the Health and Wellbeing Portal

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