Back pain is a national problem, affecting around 80% of the population and costing the economy and the health services billions of pounds every year.¹
It is one of the most common causes of long-term sickness among workers and almost 31 million days of work were lost due to back, neck and muscle problems in 2013/2014 according to the office for national statistics.
What are the main causes?
A major cause of back pain is soft tissue damage. The muscles, ligaments and fascia (connective tissue) can be damaged by:
- Injury or trauma
- Chronic repetitive misuse
- Habitual poor posture
This type of soft tissue damage often goes undetected as it cannot be diagnosed via X rays or MRI’s leading to unnecessary long standing pain that can in most cases easily be resolved.
Studies suggest that trigger points (commonly known as “knots” in soft tissue) are a component of up to 93% of the pain seen in pain clinics and the sole cause of such pain as much as 85% of the time.²
Sitting is the new smoking!
Sitting can definitely cause low back pain or worsen an existing back problem. Sitting is a static posture that can add large amounts of pressure to the back muscles and spinal discs.
Most people slouch over or slouch down in the chair, and this posture can overstretch the spinal ligaments and strain the discs and surrounding structures in the spine.
Research co-commissioned by Public Health England calls for a workplace revolution through use of sit-stand desks to avoid risks of a sedentary lifestyle. According to the study office workers should be standing for at least 4 hours of the working day.³
In many cases soft tissue manipulation through sports massage can have fantastic results. Releasing trigger points and stimulating repair of damaged tissues along with corrections in posture, stretching and strengthening exercises for the muscles can all help alleviate cases of back pain.
² Gershwin; Fishbain quoted in Travell and Simons: Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The trigger point manual Volume 1
³ Public Health England.
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