How much is back pain costing you and your organisation?
Clare Jarvis, Pilates instructor and co-founder at Restore Fitness Therapies, shares her top tips for preventing, managing and eliminating back pain at work.
Have you ever experienced back pain? Do you see it amongst your colleagues or employees?
In the UK, 2.5 million people have back pain every day of the year which results in a total cost of £12.3 billion per year to the national economy. £1.6 billion of that is being spent on treatment; that’s about 22% of UK healthcare expenditure.
One of the reasons back pain affects such a significant proportion of the working population is that all work environments have the potential to cause it, for example:
- Prolonged periods in one position e.g. office workers, long-distance drivers, retail staff
- Lifting and carrying heavy loads e.g. warehouse staff, delivery drivers, caregivers
- Stooping and bending e.g. tradespeople, school teachers, hairdressers
When in pain, it can be tempting to pop a few painkillers and continue as before, doing all the same things that have caused the pain. Or, resting in bed and trying to move as little as possible to avoid the pain. Unfortunately, neither of these strategies will lead to any improvement.
The spine was designed to move and so staying active is key. The most important thing is to listen to your body and respond appropriately; if it feels ok do more, if you feel tension and strain ease off. This is actually very difficult for most people because, in the modern world, most of us have lost the sharp intuition and connection between our minds and bodies that our ancestors would have needed for basic survival so we end up overdoing it without realising; until the pain kicks in.
Whatever your working environment, a few basic principles can make a huge difference in preventing, managing or eliminating back pain;
- Do not stay in one position for too long (whether it is sitting or standing)
- Move and stretch regularly (set a timer on your phone to remind you)
- Get moving on your breaks (take a walk, use the stairs etc.)
Some other more creative ideas to get the whole workplace involved which we love are; walking meetings. Even if it’s just around the block, it’s better for the body and can actually generate much greater creativity! Instead of picking up the phone or sending an email to your colleague upstairs, go and see them instead. Not only will it get you moving but the social interaction is also much better for us mentally and fosters better working relationships.
At Restore Fitness Therapies, we provide office-based massage and other therapies to treat repetitive strain injuries and muscle tension, arrange office based exercise classes for staff and offer informal advice and support on maintaining optimum physical health in the workplace.
To find out how we can help you and your colleagues or staff, contact Clare Jarvis on firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d like to give one of our public classes a try, you can book a FREE ‘Reduce, Manage and Eliminate Back Pain’ Pilates Taster Session click here - http://bit.ly/2PofiMO. Feel free to pass this link on to others!
Clare Jarvis – Pilates Instructor & Teacher Trainer