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[Photo by Cyberslayer]
The sit-still culture of schools and the workplace is creating a healthcare time bomb.
Those are the words of the chief executive of UK charity BackCare who is dismayed by new research which has found that nearly two-thirds of Britons suffer from back pain.
Sean McDougall also blamed a lack of exercise and people’s difficulty in obtaining adequate and appropriate treatment for the worrying figures released in the report.
As a result of these factors, Mr McDougall believes that “millions of people aged 18 to 34 are destined to spend the next 60 years living with back pain”.
The survey, which was conducted by drugs firm Pfizer on 14th September, also found that 21 per cent of back pain sufferers reported that their condition affects their ability to carry out work. This state of affairs was particularly pronounced in young men aged 18 to 34; 25 per cent of whom found that their work is compromised by their pain levels.
Employers have a duty of care to provide adequate equipment and training so that workers do not injure their back during the course of their work. No win no fee solicitors can help people make a personal injury claim if a worker’s health is damaged in the line of their work or as a result of an accident at work.
The increase in the number of desk-bound jobs, together with longer working hours, is a likely cause of many modern worker’s back strains.
Other survey findings include:
•19 per cent of back pain sufferers reporting that their condition adversely affected their sexual relationships
•45 per cent report that ‘low moods’ and depression resulted from living with back pain
Dr Ollie Hart, a GP who specialises in chronic pain, believes that many doctors are failing to identify that a patient is suffering from neuropathic (nerve-related) back pain. This oversight, Dr Hart suggests, is leading to unnecessary repeat visits and unwanted complications later on.
He said: “Doctors can use specific checks to diagnose neuropathic back pain. The sorts of things they should be looking out for are patients describing symptoms of freezing, shocking, crawling or burning pain.”
There are many things that employers can do to prevent workers from picking up, or aggravating, back injuries.
For instance, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa) advocates that workers involved in moving and handling heavy goods should be provided with an electronic device that helps monitor the wearer’s movement and posture.
Ingeniously, the tracking device can be worn on a belt and starts to vibrate when a worker adopts an incorrect stance (such as stooping) when lifting heavy goods.
Rospa has just announced that it is introducing the device to all its safe handling training courses. Perhaps a similar piece of technology could be developed to help office workers maintain a safe posture while working long hours…
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