A new campaign has launched a website to help office workers take control of their back pain and to pay more attention to the dangers of sitting.
Mind Your Back is a website with videos for people to use to help alleviate and prevent back pain, which is based around the simple five S.T.E.P.S approach (Stretch, Therapy, Exercise, Posture and Strengthening).
It’s been devised by Deep-Heat manufacturers, Mentholatum, who say that the S.T.E.P.S approach “empowers back-pain sufferers to manage pain themselves without the need for painkillers, allowing them to lead a healthier, happier life.”
The firm’s initiative, which has been created with the help of medical and activity experts, also highlights some of the known risks of excessive sitting, and how it can harm the whole body and not just the back.
Physiotherapist Sammy Margo and a supporter of Mind Your Back warns: “The dangers of such sedentary lifestyles are not simply due to reduced calorie burning, habitual inactivity leads to a slew of health issues known collectively as hypokinetic diseases.”
Margo refers to a study from Cornell university that shows sitting for more than an hour triggers changes in the body’s biochemistry, and this alters fat and glucose metabolism and promotes weight gain.
But with 27.8 million sick days taken last year due to back or neck pain, according to latest official ONS figures, it's sitting's links to back pain that the campaign wants to highlight most.
Data obtained by the campaign indicates that three out of five people (57 per cent) sit down for four or more hours of their working day, and when they get home the same number remains seated for another two to four hours.
These lifestyles are driving what the campaigners say is an "epidemic of musculoskeletal pain", with two out of five people (39 per cent) experiencing problems at least once a week. Four out of five (84 per cent) adults report they have suffered from back pain at some time in their lives.
GP Dr Dawn Harper says: “There is a growing body of evidence highlighting the link between sedentary lifestyles and back pain. We already have huge numbers of people reporting problems, and this is likely to continue to rise as a result of prolonged periods of inactivity, combined with an ageing and increasingly obese population.”
The good news is that back pain can be tackled. Organisers say: "Mentholatum has worked with medical and activity experts to create Mind Your Back — following five simple S.T.E.P.S. (Stretch, Therapy, Exercise, Posture and Strengthening) to help manage and prevent back pain and reduce the risk of serious inactivity-linked illness."
To follow the five S.T.E.P.S. go to www.mindyourbackuk.com for videos and more
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