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Back Pain Growing Problem for UK Employees

A recent study by Nuffield Health shows approximately three million UK employee/workers experience problems with back pain and are, either, unable to work or are on long-term sick leave as a result.

Additionally and worryingly, somewhere in the region of six million individuals working in the UK have back pain that is undiagnosed.

While a lack of exercise definitely is a major factor for this problem with 74 per cent of respondents who experience back pain admitting to having a non-active lifestyle, the workplace was found to be another major contributory factor.

According to Nuffield Health, the majority of the UK with back pain workforce (66 per cent) do not feel supported in the workplace, while 49 per cent of respondents indicated that they don’t take short breaks or move around at work.

In truth, 51% of those surveyed by Nuffield sit at a desk or drive for most of the day (if not all of it). Both job types are problematic. Firstly, driving for lengthy periods of time is clearly problematic given that 77 per cent of workers doing so suffer back pain. Desk jobs are also problematic with 38 per cent of said individuals experiencing pain in their lower back.

With back problems believed to be responsible for more than 15 million days off work in 2013 and 15% of the UK population being on sick leave for more than a month due to back pain, obviously, it’s a problem which needs addressed.

To help combat the problem, Nuffield is advising all employees / workers to exercise more but also to work with their employers, seeking assistance from same, taking regular breaks and having their desks setup properly.

Commenting on the matter, Auldric Ratajczak, who is the Deputy Medical Director at Nuffield Health, stated

"Not only can early intervention help staff to get back to full health as quickly as possible, it can also reduce the amount of time employees are being forced to take off work as a result of their back pain, and avoid triggering the stress and anxiety that can be caused by the problem not being properly diagnosed…"

"Reasonable adjustments can be made to working environments to ensure that people are as protected as they can be from back pain in the workplace."

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