As part of the British Chiropractic Association Chiropractic Awareness Week (13 – 19 April) we are urging people to take regular breaks at work to help combat neck and back pain.
The advice comes as new research from the back and spinal care experts finds of those who have suffered from back and neck pain, working is a cause of the pain for 41% of people in Northern Ireland.
More than a third (45%) think that sitting in the same position for long periods at a time has the most negative impact on their back health. Despite recognising the source of pain, one in ten (10%) of those who spend the day mainly in one position don’t take regular breaks.
BCA chiropractors Anne Matthews and Rachel Jones advise “If you work in an office or drive a vehicle for long periods of time, it’s easy to stay seated, rarely taking breaks. Many people are unaware that staying in the same position can place unnecessary strain on their neck and back which can lead to long term pain.”
“Sitting causes up to twice as much pressure on the spine as standing. If your job involves sitting for long periods of time, it’s important that you take regular breaks to relieve the built-up tension in your lower back. Your back is always hard at work – even when you think you’re relaxing – so ensuring you move and stretch regularly will help relieve the extra load through the discs which will prevent long term problems, keeping your back on track.”
In Northern Ireland, almost half (49%) of people surveyed currently live with neck or back pain – and 30% suffer on a daily basis. So what can we do to combat neck or back pain at work?
We offer the following top tips to help people get through the working day back pain free:
Sit up straight: Relax when sitting into your seat, making sure you have your bottom against the seat back with your shoulder blades touching the back rest of the chair. Keep arms relaxed and close to the body and place on the desk when typing. For drivers; the back of the seat should be set slightly backwards, so that it feels natural and your elbows should be at a comfortable and relaxed angle for driving.
Be computer compatible: Make sure the top of the screen is level with the eyebrows and the chair is titled slightly forward, allowing for the knees to be lower than the hips and the feet to be flat on the floor. Using a laptop or tablet away from a desk will encourage poor posture, so limit time spent in this way.
Take regular breaks: Don’t sit for more than 20-30 minutes at a time – stand up to stretch, change position and walk around a little. If you struggle to get away then take time to gently massage the back of your head and neck as you relax your stomach region with slow easy breathing. This will help to improve posture and reduce back pain by promoting balance, strength and flexibility in the spine.
Drink Up! Try drinking water instead of tea or coffee; it will be healthier and keep your body hydrated.
For more information on how to maintain a healthy posture and help keep neck and back pain at bay, the British Chiropractic Association has developed ‘Straighten Up’ – a simple, three minute exercise programme for all ages, designed to help strengthen the spine and improve posture and help joints. To watch a video of the exercises you can do, please visit: www.chiropractic-uk.co.uk and search for Straighten Up UK.
To find out more contact the clinic on 028 90641111 and book a free 15 minute consultation with our Chiropractor Rachel Jones.
The consumer research was carried out between: 07/01/2015 and 20/01/2015. Sample: 2,127 UK adults aged 18 – 65 by Opinion Matters on behalf of the British Chiropractic Association. Northern Ireland sample size: 49
Featured Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net