Joanna Lowry-Corry
By: Joanna Lowry-Corry
Date: 07/08/2017

Back pain and modern lifestyles

It is estimated that a sixth of the UK population suffers from back pain at any one time.  According to the National Office of Statistics, a staggering 31 million days of work were lost last year [2016] due to back, neck and muscles problems.

These staggering numbers of back and neck related complaints have been linked to our modern lifestyles and lack of movement. We lead such busy lives that we ignore problems (by taking pain relief or suffering in silence) and don’t take action soon enough. We don’t nip problems in the bud by visiting a musculoskeletal expert, but tend to wait until they become chronic, justifying that it’ll take too much time out of our week or month.

There is no shying away that our modern lifestyles are putting a considerable amount of strain on our necks, backs and overall wellbeing. This is leading to an increased source of tension and pain amongst many of us – and of all ages. Even if we lead busy lifestyles, it is imperative that we take the necessary time to look after our ourselves, and in turn our spine health. A spinal screening takes around 45 minutes, whilst a follow-up Chiropractic treatment is fast, efficient and effect – only 15 minutes. Everyone can easily squeeze this time into their schedules.

In the meantime, an easy way of doing improving our health is to incorporate an increase of steps into our everyday lifestyle. This simple process can make a real difference to maintaining a healthy posture and our general back health. People are often surprised at the great positive impact even simple changes like this can have on their overall health.

Sitting for long periods of time lessens blood flow to the discs that cushion your spine, and thus places increased pressure on it than walking or standing. It is therefore crucial that you have a good posture while sitting at your desk. Make sure you head is straight and not tilted down when you are reading or typing. Avoid slouching, and if it is possible, tilt your chair back slightly to help alleviate and excess pressure on your spine and make sure your feet are placed firmly hip width apart on the floor.

No matter how good your posture, if you are sitting for prolonged periods of time, taking regular breaks to stand up, stretch and walk around. You should aim to do this every 20-30 minutes – this simple act will have a real positive effect on your back and help increase the blood flow to your lower back and legs.

To easily increase your daily exercise, you can make simple changes to your commute to help you get in those extra steps. It is advised that we take 10,000 steps a day – although most of us normally only manage to get between 3,000 and 4,000! If possible park further away from your destination or get off the tube a few stops before you normally would and walk the rest of the way. As walking is a great low impact exercise, it will not only help to relieve back pain without putting too much strain on your body. Try walking for just 30 minutes a day, 3-5 times a week.

You can buy a pedometer for next to nothing, or use an app on your phone to monitor your steps. Smart watches are great at reminding you to get up every hour or so, and many can monitor your heart rate too.

You will quickly see the real benefits on your back health and your overall wellbeing. Modern lifestyles needn’t be a pain in the back, you just need to know how to look after your health as you go about your daily life!