Back Care Awareness Week – Highlighting life-long back pain potential
This year’s Back Care Awareness Week focuses on education, with research showing one in four UK pupils suffers from back pain. Whilst this statistic is very worrying, it reflects recent research that shows back and neck pain in the workplace continues to be a huge problem in the UK and globally. If such a high proportion of school-age children are suffering, and the workplace continues to be the cause of so much back pain, we have to ask the question – are we learning anything about how to prevent injury?
According to the recent report into Britain’s Healthiest Workplace, over the past four years, the health of the national workforce has been deteriorating. The average number of working days per member of staff lost to absenteeism or presenteeism (when employees come to work but are not productive) has risen from 23 to 30. In the UK, a third of all long-term sickness absence from work, and nearly a fifth of any sick leave, is caused by musculoskeletal disorders, which is mostly lower back and neck pain, according to the Work Foundation.
In 2015/16, work-related musculoskeletal disorders accounted for 34 per cent of working days lost to ill health.
Leading global cause of disability
In terms of global statistics, the latest Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, published by the Lancet, showed that low back and neck pain was “the leading global cause of disability in 2015 in most countries”.
As the world’s population ages, and school-age children are showing signs of musculo-skeletal pain, more steps need to be taken to prevent and take care of these disorders.
Have you suffered from workplace back pain?
Your employer should have policies and procedures that protect you from cumulative back injuries; however, this unfortunately doesn’t always happen. If you don’t feel that you have been provided with regular breaks or training and there has been a lack of sufficient supervision, your employer’s negligence may be the cause of your back injury.
CUMULATIVE BACK INJURY COMPENSATION AMOUNTS
- Minor Back Issues £1,000 to £8,900
- Moderate Back Issues £8,900 to £27,700
- Severe Back Issues £27,700 to £115,000
*All figures based on the maximum JC guidelines*
How to prevent back pain
To assist people who suffer from back pain, we have listed our top ten tips to alleviate symptoms and the treatment options available.
- Maintain good posture – Always make sure you are standing or sitting properly. If you sit down for long periods of time at work, it is advisable to use a back support if you are suffering from back pain.
- Exercise – Proper exercise not only loosens muscles and joints in the back, allowing more freedom, it also allows you to gain muscle which strengthens the back.
- Pick a good mattress – Many people are unaware that a poor quality mattress can lead to back pain. With so much of our time spent on a mattress, it is advisable that you replace it regularly.
- Visit your GP – Your GP can give you a proper diagnosis together with suitable medication. They will also try to identify the root cause, which will prevent any further problems or aggravation.
- Medication – If you are suffering from minor back pain, there are several over the counter pain medications you can take to alleviate pain and symptoms. Ice packs can also be effective after stretching or exercise.
- Lose excess weight – You can calculate whether or not you are a healthy weight for your height using a BMI calculator. Excess weight can lead to back problems due to strains.
- Lifting/Carrying – You should always lift properly and with proper technique. Bend at your knees, use your leg muscles and always keep the weight close to your body. This can prevent any further injury.
- Quit Smoking – No matter what the condition is, smoking can lead to back pain. Nicotine shrinks the blood vessels, meaning certain blood vessels cannot transport blood to soft tissue in the back.
- Non-medical techniques – There are other options apart from medication, such as massage or yoga, both of which can help with muscle pain surrounding the joints. In certain circumstances a chiropractor may assist by making adjustments, although we advise enquiring with your GP about this technique first.
- Avoid Twisting – Twisting your body should always be done with care, especially when lifting heavy objects.
These tips are just simple ways that can help manage and treat your back pain. Roberts Jackson Solicitors specialise in obtaining compensation for people who have suffered a back injury through work. This compensation can help sufferers make changes to their living environments or lifestyle that can ease their back pain.
If you would like to seek advice from one of our specialist advisors or to enquire about your eligibility for compensation for work related back pain, get in touch by filling in the enquiry box on the right of the page.
*Please note- the information on this page does not constitute medical advice.