People in Milton Keynes are being urged by health leaders at NHS Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to protect their backs and take action during Back Care Awareness Week, which starts today.
Back pain is a major health issue costing the country and the health service billions of pounds every year. Sickness absence currently costs the UK economy £15bn and musculoskeletal disorders are one of the leading causes of sickness absence. An estimated 9,466,000 working days were lost due to work-related musculoskeletal disorders, an average of 17.1 days lost for each case.
Consumer research from the British Chiropractic Association shows that 71% of those suffering with back pain have been doing so for up to 10 years but, amazingly, many admit to not taking proactive measures to take care of their backs.
Back pain is a common problem that affects most people at some point in their life.
It may be triggered by bad posture while sitting or standing, bending awkwardly, or lifting incorrectly. Back pain is not generally caused by a serious condition and, in most cases, it gets better within 12 weeks. It can usually be successfully treated by taking painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.
“It’s important that everyone takes proactive measures to protect their back health,” says Dr Nicola Smith, Chair of NHS Milton Keynes CCG.
“The most common causes of back pain are strained muscles or ligaments, wear and tear, bad posture and stress. Back pain can be caused by many work situations. So, in the workplace in particular everyone should be aware and mitigate the potential for back injuries.
“If you work in an office and use a computer, you can avoid injury by sitting in the right position and arranging your desk correctly. Try not to sit for more than 20-30 minutes at a time and stand up to stretch, change position and walk around a little.
“How you sit, stand, lie and lift can all affect the health of your back. Regular exercise, such as walking and swimming, is an excellent way of preventing back pain. Activities such as yoga or pilates can also improve your flexibility and strengthen your back muscles.”
Back Care Awareness Week is a national campaign to raise awareness of the prevention of back and neck pain. For further information about back care download the NHS Back Pain Guide at http://www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Back-pain-guide.aspx