1 in 6 people in England (that’s 9 million people!) suffer from lower back pain and it is the leading cause of disability in the UK according to Arthritis Research UK .
Musculoskeletal conditions account for a fifth of all sickness absence and more than 30 million lost working days every year.
Inactivity and obesity are making the problem worse and for many their working environment plays a role in the development of back problems as our obsession with sitting in one place for hours on end continues.
Long term back pain is also associated with depression which can lead to mental health issues and further lost working days. So you can see how not looking after your back can seriously affect your wellbeing!
This week is Back Care Awareness Week so we wanted to highlight a few ways your workplace can help to tackle this growing problem.
Introduce standing desks which help with posture and activate your core and glute muscles
Encourage staff to go for a walk at lunch time to ease out tension in the lower back from too much sitting.
Take the stairs where you can to activate the muscles in your lower legs and bottom as these support your lower back.
Ensure all staff have a good chair with decent lumbar support, that their screens are set at the right height and you provide something to elevate their feet as knees should be a bit higher than hips while seated.
Encourage healthy eating amongst staff because extra weight around the mid section can shift your centre of gravity and put extra strain on your lower back.
Ensure anyone whose job entails lifting is taught how to do so correctly.
Ensure you do full risk assessments for staff and follow the Health and Safety Executive guidelines on preventing back pain https://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/backpain/