Back and neck pain is one of the most common work related conditions in the UK. In fact it is a major cause of workplace absence, costing the UK 35 million working days every year (source: www.ons.gov.uk). It can have a negative effect on people's ability to perform their normal daily activities and lead to depression in some cases. This is why for 2014, National Backcare Awareness week is focusing on 'Back in the Office'.
Back pain can affect all aspects of a person's life from driving a car, sitting at work using a computer or even at night time leading to sleep deprivation says Ian Bisson , an Osteopath at Avenue Clinic, Guernsey.
British people sit on average for 8.9 hours a day!!!
This is largely due to the modernised world where computers have become an everyday part of our lives. If we are not sitting at a computer for work all day, we are using one at home. On top of this, in the last 5-10 years, the introduction of the smart phone and the ipad have us sitting for even longer hours with a 'slouched' posture, whether it be during long work hours, during our lunch hours, at home on the couch, at the bus stop, in the airport or even in the pub with friends... the list goes on!
Our bodies are designed to stand and move for long periods of time. We automatically shift our weight and move around while standing. Standing prevents both the repetitive stress and muscle degeneration that is caused by sitting which can lead to back pain. Some countries are already adopting a sit-stand environment in the workplace to minimise this stress on our bodies and help reduce back pain.
Gemma Piercey from Avenue Clinic adds 'Osteopaths are well know for treating back pain, using a wide range of gentle manual treatments depending on the patient's age, fitness and diagnosis. Treatment is different in every individual and sometimes it might involve treating other areas of the body such as the hips and pelvis or the neck. We may offer advice on lifestyle, particularly if we feel something the patient is doing repetitively is part of the reason for their discomfort; or give advice on posture, diet and exercise, as well as set specific exercises.'
National Back Awareness week is upon us (6-12 October) and Avenue Clinic will be on hand in the OSA Popup shop giving out free advice on back protection in the workplace and identifying changes that you could make to ease the burden on your body.