Men are succumbing to back pain at a younger age than before due to physical strains of a sedentary lifestyle, according to a body of chiropractors
‘Sitting is the new smoking’ is the phrase on the lips of a generation of worried office workers.
And now a body of chiropractors have warned that they are seeing an increased incidence of 30-something men suffering from debilitating back pain.
A study of 2,127 British adults by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) found that an alarming 82pc of men say they have suffered from neck or back pain. The figure has increased from 75pc a year ago.
Even more worrying for our long-term health is the fact that the age at which men first experience back pain appears to be falling. The average age for men to visit a chiropractor for the first time is 37 – a significant drop from previous years.
BCA chiropractor, Rishi Loatey said: “The modern man is certainly feeling the strain as we constantly juggle busy lives – working longer hours, tackling DIY and looking after the kids. It all takes its toll, but worryingly we’re seeing younger men coming through our doors who aren’t looking after themselves.”
Part of the problem is that men’s lifestyles are not as consistently active as those of generations gone by.
“The mid-to-late-thirties group are not as active today,” chiropractor Tim Hutchful told The Mail. “People who are in their sixties now had a much, much more active lifestyle when they were in their thirties than the current 30-year-olds.”
“People now have lifestyles where part of their life is very sedentary and then another part is manic. They might commute to work in their car, they sit on their backsides all day, then play five-a-side football once a week – and that is when the problems happen.”
Osteopath Clive Lathey (top) performs back-pain treatment on writer Jasper Gerard (Clara Molden)
The study also revealed that 41pc of the respondents admitted that they don’t do anything to proactively look after their backs. 28pc opt to self-treat with over-the-counter medicine.
“Like with most things, prevention is better than cure which is why it’s so important to seek help from a healthcare professional if you experience pain for more than a couple of days,” said Mr Loatey.
“Don’t be tempted to self-treat with over-the-counter medicine for a prolonged period of time as this may be masking the symptoms rather than resolving the problem.”
The BCA offered the following four tips for the 21st century male to get through the day back and neck pain free:
- Use it or lose it. When lifting heavy objects or picking up the kids, bend your knees, otherwise this will lead to overstretching and damage to your back. Try not to bend from the waist, which increases the stress on your lower back.
- Keep it close. The weight you are carrying should be kept as close to you as possible to help reduce the strain on your neck and back. Putting the weight down can often cause just as many injuries as lifting it up. If possible, put the weight on something at waist height rather than the floor.
- Sit up. If sat watching the big game or race on your TV or mobile device make sure you are sitting comfortably with your back supported in the base of the chair. Sitting with your head forward adds strain on your neck and back so always sit with your head directly over your body.
- Get moving but ease in. The back is mechanical in nature so try to move around every 20-30 minutes, whether at home or at work. Being active is a great way to keep back pain at bay but don’t be tempted to go full throttle with high endurance based activities as it can put the body under huge amounts of stress. Ease yourself in gently if you haven’t exercised in a while.
Contact the Workers of England Union if you have concerns
about your working environment on 01206 766899