Back pain is a ‘musculoskeletal disorder’ (MSD) which also includes neck pain and repetitive strain injury (RSI), now known as Work Relevant Upper Limb Disorder (WRULD).
MSDs are a main cause of people being off sick from work. Physiotherapy is extremely effective with MSDs. In one study, 80 per cent of people who had physiotherapy for their MSD were able to carry on working and did not have to go off sick.
Back pain has a wide variety of causes, from picking up a heavy parcel incorrectly to spending too long in one position. Feeling very anxious or stressed can make your pain worse. It is rarely due to a serious health problem.
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- Exercise and activity are the most important ways of helping yourself if you have back pain
- Keep moving and continue with activities such as walking or swimming
- Paracetamol or similar pain-killers, taken as advised by your GP or physio, can help you keep moving comfortably
- Avoid sitting for too long when driving or at work
- Gently stretch to prevent stiffness
- Take care when lifting, bending your hips and knees to use the power in your legs
- Check your posture when using computers/games or watching television
- Check the mattress on your bed to ensure it supports you properly
- Don’t smoke – it impairs your circulation, which affects how quickly your body can recover
- Strengthen your trunk muscles as this may help to protect your back
- Make sure your car seat and office chair are adjusted correctly and support your back
- Eat a healthy diet and exercise, as being overweight can be a cause of back pain
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