In 2014/2015, statistics show that there were close to 3 million working days lost due to back pain.
The average number of days off work per person with back pain was 13.3 days in one year!
Back pain effects millions of people every year with 1 in 3 adults suffering specifically from lower back pain at least once in their lifetime. The pain and discomfort generally lasts from a few days to weeks but in some cases people can be suffering for months to years, depending on the cause of the pain and treatment received. There are 2 types of back pain, firstly specific back pain which has an actual cause such as lifting incorrectly and secondly non-specific back pain commonly due to sitting for long periods of time, normally at a desk or whilst driving long distances.
One of the main causes of lower back pain that we see in clients who visit our clinics is poor posture.
The majority of our clients have desk jobs so are forced to sit at a desk for most of the day, slouching, with their necks pushed forward to look at a computer screen. Static posture for long periods of time will cause the back muscles to become tired, causing strain and tension in the lower back.
There are numerous ways to solve lower back pain that can easily added to a busy daily routine:
- Improving posture at work by sitting upright with the correct seat and back support, taking regular breaks where you stand and move around more often
- Strengthen and stretching the back and core though exercise such as Pilates and Yoga
- Ensuring you lift correctly. Bend your legs not your back and share the weight with others
- Warm up the entire body before exercising and cool down and stretch afterwards
- Reduce stress levels by finding time to relax
Although we see poor posture as a key cause for lower back pain, unfortunately there are several other sources, such as lifting & carry heavy objects, bending or twisting awkwardly and overworking during exercise. When a muscle is forced to move in a way that it doesn’t like it will go into spasm. Failure to treat this muscular tightness will result in pain and will get worse if not treated.
Manual therapy has been shown to help significantly improve lower back pain by releasing and relaxing tightness in the muscles. Massage Therapy and joint mobilisations both help to relieve muscle tension, reduce pain and improve muscle flexibility, allowing less painful movements within a greater range. A skilled Therapist will assess the movement of your muscles, identifying a weakness in one area which could be causing another area to overwork, causing tightness and pain. Your Therapist will identify exercises and stretches which can improve muscle imbalances to rectify your posture and build strength.
Heat and ice treatments at home can be used to relieve acute lower back pain. We recommend the use of heat packs applied to the affected area for 10-20 minutes at a time to relax a muscle in spasm. In contrast, ice packs often help to reduce inflammation in your muscles and can be used alongside heat packs after manipulation from an expert Therapist.
Take a look at our range of exercises designed to help you stretch and strengthen your lower back.